You are important. You matter. Your life has great importance. You have special gifts that nobody else has. There is only one you. Such simple sentences, but they are filled with great meaning. Your emotional reaction to these sentences may tell you a lot about how you currently feel about yourself and your life right now. Do you believe all of the above to be true? If not, that’s okay…you will soon. Are you feeling fulfilled in your day-to-day life? Are you living a life that is aligned with your values? If not, that’s okay! Keep reading and you’ll be well on your way to seeing your life in a whole new light!
Your values make up who you are. Identifying your values is a direct way to get to know yourself better and tap into your special gifts. Gifts you need to identify to have a fulfilling life and enhance the lives of others. In fact, how you spend your time demonstrates what you truly value. Anything you are not currently doing on a regular basis is NOT a priority to you. Your daily behaviors reflect your priorities in life. And these priorities reflect both to you and the world what you value and aspire towards in life.
If you find yourself out of balance and not spending your time on things that truly matter to you, what better time than now to ask why? Below are some questions to help you identify your priorities. When you identify and start to embrace your priorities, your life will start to flow in the direction where you can’t wait to get up every morning and start the day. You’ll be living your best life in no time!
The first step…Thinking on a grand scale-what are your top 3-5 priorities? List them all. For example top priorities may be helping others, writing a book or traveling.
Then…What are the 3-5 things that matter more than anything to you? List them all. For example, family, financial stability, or quality friendships.
Next….What are 2-3 things you believe in? For example: religion, the goodness of people, or that one person can make a difference in the world.
Then…What are 2-3 things you stand for? For example: the rights of all people, your political stance, or equal access to education.
Finally…What do you want for your life? For example: to be close to family, make a difference in the lives of others, or to spend a lot of time exploring other cultures.
You may want to use this as a journaling exercise where each day you answer one or two of the questions above, continuing to think about and add to the list as you go about your day. Or you may want to consider all of the questions, responding to them in one sitting. Either way, taking just a few minutes to write down your answers to the questions will give you great clarity about your priorities in life. Identifying and understanding your priorities will help you plan your time so you are finally living in alignment, spending time on what matters most. Once you have fully answered these questions you will have the clarity and motivation you need to move forward with building the future you desire.
Begin With the End in Mind
As Stephen Covey wrote in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People you have to know where you’re going in able to head in that direction. Otherwise, you’re heading in multiple directions and never really arrive at any one destination. This can lead you to feel like your life is like Groundhog’s Day. The same thing day in and day out, with little progress or satisfaction anywhere, settling for a life that’s “good enough.” A good enough life uses up your energy and wastes the unique gifts that you have to offer. Again, your life has meaning and you deserve way more than “good enough.”
Each day is a new day. Today is the first day where you can choose to do something different. The first step is to have a long range plan of what you want your life to look like. This plan is a life compass, pointing you in the direction you want to go. Keeping you on course day in and day out. Helping you navigate through your days with clarity and resolve so that your journey is aligned with your life’s purpose.
Using the lists you created above, plan out what you want your life to look like in the future. It helps to have a long range goal.
- What would you like to accomplish in the next ten years? A new house in a new town? A high paying job that you love? A family?
- Break this list down into those things you’d like to accomplish in the next five years. A degree to get that new job? Socializing in an attempt to meet people so you can meet that partner that will be the beginning of your future family?
- Then from there, what you’d like to accomplish in the next three years. Researching programs in your chosen field to further your education? Joining social networks to meet people?
- Finally, make one more division into the next six months. Be specific! What can you actually do in the next few months to further yourself toward achieving your long-term goals? Deciding what job will bring you the most joy? Going to at least a few social events each month to meet people?
Visualize what this life will look like. Make sure to include your priorities, what matters most to you, what you believe in, what you stand for and what you want for your life every step of the way. Again, this doesn’t have to be done in one sitting. You can break up the time, whatever works best for you. Just start it. Don’t worry about perfection. Do the best you can and continue to add on as you give it more thought.
Throughout your day, continue to picture in as much detail as you can what your life will look like in six months, a year from now, five years from now.
What will you be doing? Who will you spend a majority of your time with? What hobbies will you have? Where will you live? All of these questions are important as the answers show you what you truly desire in life and opportunities will start to present themselves to help you get there.
In visualizing your future life, you create neural pathways that will help you create the life you’ve always imagined and you will find inspiration along the way. In fact, the inspiration has always been there, you may just not have noticed it because you didn’t know what to look for! All of those chance encounters, coincidences, and opportunities that start popping up will all be evidence that you are starting to live your life in alignment with your values and goals. Because, when you’re living the life you’re meant to live and sharing your special gifts with others, things are in harmony and they start happening for you.
In the words of Jim Rohn, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” So why not get started today? I’ll be back soon to share how to turn your big picture plans based on your priorities into a very manageable and doable 90 day plan.