It seems like ages ago, but it wasn’t that long ago that I was in a serious funk. I was at a crossroads in my life. I wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted to go. So, I started comparing myself to others to find inspiration, and that was a mistake. Instead of worrying about what I wanted in life, I was consumed with what I didn’t have. That definitely didn’t do much for my self-esteem. Even worse, it took me further away from what was truly meaningful in life. What should be your top priorities in life?
It took some time and adjusting, but I eventually got back on track by defining what my priorities were. If you’re in the same boat, let’s quickly describe what priorities are and why you need to find what you want, and what you want out of life.
Priorities are the things that give life meaning and a purpose. Because these goals are so important, you’re willing to put in the extra effort and time into them. As a result, you’ll be more effective at time management. Effective time management happens when you define what your priorities are. You begin to focus on the preferences and stop wasting time on areas that don’t matter.
Priorities also keep you motivated to progress towards your goals. When you can rank what you want in order of importance, it holds you accountable and puts a focal point into the big picture. Realizing you’re making progress allows you to feel more grateful since you can appreciate what you’ve done and the direction you’ve chosen.
While priorities differ from person to person, I believe that the top priorities in life should be your well-being, relationships, security, development, and (of course) fun.
“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” — Herophilus
With so much going on in our lives, it’s all too easy to neglect our well-being. Self-care doesn’t mean you’re selfish. I used to believe “selfish” was a horrible personal attribute. But if you don’t prioritize your health and wellness — that’s selfish — and you can help no one else if you are not well. Why is your well-being important? Here are ten solid reasons:
- It reduces your stress and anxiety, which will boost your immune system and prevent illnesses like high blood pressure.
- When you’re healthy, you’re more productive at work.
- It gives you the energy to do the things that you love to do.
- When you take care of yourself, you’re in a better position to help others.
- It improves the quality of your sleep.
- You’ll be in a better mood, which means people will want to around you.
- It allows you to be a better role model for your children and employees.
- When you feel good mentally and physically, you’ll have more self-confidence.
- It will help you save money by reducing health care costs or spending money on unhealthy habits like smoking.
- Exposes you to new opportunities, like meeting new people or supporting local businesses.
“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you can give.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
You may not realize it. But, whether if it’s friends, family, co-workers, or members of your community, relationships are the primary source of purpose and meaning. Furthermore, as noted by Northwestern Medicine, healthy relationships can:
- Decreases stress by reducing the production of the stress hormone cortisol. It’s also been found that “ married or paired people are less responsive to psychological stress, and that the social and emotional support that comes with having a partner can be a great buffer against stress.”
- Increases happiness and helps with healing. In fact, “married people who have undergone heart surgery are three times more likely to survive the first three months after surgery than single patients.”
- Relationships encourage you to partake in healthy behaviors and habits.
- “Being in a loving relationship, no matter what kind, can give a person a sense of well-being and purpose.”
- Studies show that having healthy social relationships can add years to your life.
“If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.”– Henry Ford.
Obviously, you need to make money to survive. After all, you need a course of income to eat, put a roof over your head, handle emergencies, and pursue your passions. At the same time, money shouldn’t be your sole focus.
As the quote listed above mentioned, the best way to increase your wealth is to cash in on your knowledge, experience, and talents. It may sound like a pipe dream, but even if you have a day job that you can’t stand, you could have a side hustle that you’re passionate about. If you keep pursuing it, you’ll be more financially secure. And, you may be able to leave your current job down the road.
“In this world, you’re either growing, or you’re dying, so get in motion and grow.” — Lou Holtz
You don’t want to become complacent. It’s not just annoying. It also prevents you from becoming the person you’re truly meant to be. In turn, you’ll experience more success and will have a more fulfilling life.
Best of all? There are several different ways to work on your development. You can read more books. Watch TED Talks when taking a break from work. You can invest in learning or enhancing your skills. And, you could step outside your comfort and expand your horizons.
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” — Audrey Hepburn
Life is too short and precious to work around the clock or surround yourself in negativity. Stop taking yourself so seriously and enjoy the life you have. Take a vacation with your family. Take the day off of work to spend with friends, hobbies, and laughter. And step away from work so that you dream, reflect, and enjoy the small things in life.
When you make leisure a priority, you’ll improve your health and relationships. Most importantly, you’ll have a more meaningful and enjoyable life.
How to Get Your Priorities Straight
Not sure what should be your top priorities in life should be? Well, sit down and make a list of what’s most important to you right now. For example, if you’re so stressed and anxious that your health has taken a turn, and you can’t focus at work, then your health should be your top priority. Of course, this could change over time. But, right now, you need to determine what deserves your attention and energy.
Next, create an action plan. In this case, you would write out ways that you can reduce your stress. Maybe it could be through exercise, meditation, or going on a vacation.
After that, get your calendar in order. Create time blocks for specific activities so that you’ll actually follow through with your action plan. For example, block out a time to exercise so that you won’t schedule something else during the timeframe. Schedule breaks in-between tasks so that you can meditate. And, use your calendar to establish boundaries on when you’re working and when you’re not.
You can also free-up some time in your schedule by delegating less critical tasks to others. If there are items on your to-do list that don’t have serve a purpose, erase them from your schedule. And, eliminate distractions like social media notifications. Not only will this help you complete your obligations on-time, but this will also keep you focused on your priorities.
Finally, start small and work your way up so that you don’t get overwhelmed. And, if you need some assistance, turn to your support networks like your spouse, best friends, or mentor.