When you think about the most valuable parts of your life, what comes to mind? Do you really know what is important to you? We all live such busy lives that it can be challenging (if not outright impossible) to do everything on our lists. So what do you sacrifice? In order to fulfill your personal values, you need to clearly determine what your priorities are.
When asked what matters most to you, the question feels so simple. However, take a minute to really think it through. So many of us choose our values or priorities based on what we feel is expected or normal. But do those things really matter to you? Your priorities should be set by you. Until you can honestly answer what’s most important to YOU, you’ll have a constant feeling of dissatisfaction with your life.
Determine what your priorities are:
Let’s say you list being healthy and fit as one of your priorities. You would like to live a long, active life. It’s important to you, so you swear you’re going to go on a 30 minute walk everyday. Then life hits.
I understand that there are a million things fighting for your attention.
Bills need to be paid. Your phone just buzzed with an instagram notification. Work has deadlines. Your mom is visiting tomorrow and you need to vacuum. Dinner needs to be cooked.
You crawl into bed that night and realize you never went on the walk.
- You confused the important stuff with the urgent stuff. The stuff that you devote most of your time to on a daily basis is the urgent stuff: things that feel like they cannot wait for tomorrow (even if they can). You sacrifice what is is truly important to you to make time for what you perceive as urgent. You are being busy, but you’re not honoring your values. Clearing out some “urgent” stuff to make space for the important stuff will allow you to live a life closer to your values.
- Being active and healthy is something you say is important to you, because you feel like it SHOULD be. But when you truly ask yourself the question. you realize it’s not.
Instead of saying “I can’t make time for this” say “It’s not important to me right now”. How does that feel?
Two things that never lie when it comes to showing your priorities: Where you spend your time, and where you spend your money.
Lets consider another scenario.
You say that spending time with your family is a priority for you. However, you work 70 hour weeks because “life is expensive” and “I’m providing for my family”.
Oh, but you also drive a Volvo and and live in a $800,000 house.
Is time with your kids really a priority for you?
I’m sorry, but no! Either you’re making terrible decisions, or you’re lying to yourself.
Time with your kids isn’t your priority; fancy things are! I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but be honest with yourself!
You’re outright trading time with yours kids for high end things (by needing to work extra hours to pay for them).
People make time and money for the things that are truly important to them. So maybe they aren’t that important to you?
If reading that makes you frustrated with me and yell “Yes they are!” at the screen, then great! How are you going to truly prioritize time with them in your life since they’re so important to you? What are you going to change to make that part of your life NOW?
I’m not here to judge your priorities, or to tell you what they should be. Only you can answer that.
But you SHOULD answer that.
Taking the time to determine what your priorities are is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
It gives you the framework to decide if the life you’re living matches what you truly value.
Only do something if it fits one of two categories:
- It matches what is your priorities are right now
- It gets you closer to your priorities in the future
If it’s a no to both, walk away.
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