A lot of times in life, we do what we feel is urgent. We will go so far as to put off what we need to do to take care of the critical things. Often, we even put it ahead of taking care of ourselves.
It’s unfortunate because if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of the urgent. That’s why you need to have priorities. Priorities will guide you in life’s decisions and keep you on track.
Most importantly, priorities will give you the confidence to say “no.” Priorities help you identify what’s essential in your life, versus what someone else feels are crucial.
We all like to say that we prioritize certain things, things that deep down, we believe to be necessary, but how many of us structure our daily lives to reflect those priorities?
Making an attentive choice to live a simple life often means taking a hard look at the way that we spend our time, money, and energy. It requires some deep self-reflection on our truths and behaviors. And it usually requires some significant changes to align our daily lives with the things that we say we believe in.
Pure simplicity calls us into a space of radical honesty, asking us to question the way we have been living and contrast that with the way we want to be living.
Clarifying Your Priorities
The first thing to know when you are embarking on a new minimalist journey is that judgment has no place in the process. Berating ourselves for spending too much time on Facebook isn’t going to get us anywhere. Nor will the self-imposed downward spiral that comes from your most recently blown budget.
When we can approach our desire to change with an attitude of acceptance and self-love, we are much more likely to follow through with our goals, ride through speedbumps with grace, and harvest more meaning along the way.
Pinpointing your priorities doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t require hours in a therapist’s office, coaching sessions, or a dozen glue sticks for your vision board, although any of these things can be helpful!
I think it would be somewhat ambiguous to advise on how to simplify your life with long, complicated directions and time-consuming exercises. In the understanding of the phrase, “like attracts like,” we need to comprehend clarity, simplicity, and commitment, you must begin with those qualities.
You can define your priorities and get your life on track by asking yourself these two simple questions:
What do I truly desire? and What is standing in my way?
These two inquiries really get to the root of the matter, because they ask you to be direct and honest. In one of my session with my life coach, she asked me these same two questions. As I was sitting in her office, trying to digest the answer, I ponder on my thoughts about myself and what I truly desire. It wasn’t until she poked me with these questions that I truly started to shift my thinking about myself and what I wanted. These questions nudge you to open the dialogue with yourself about your deepest desires and the habits that may be blocking your path. These simple questions are all you need to get started. What follows is entirely up to you.
Perhaps you long to spend more quality time with your kids or with your significant other. These questions may be the wake-up call that you need to streamline your emails, put down your phone, or cut back on your work hours. Maybe you miss painting, knitting or playing the guitar.
These inquiries may encourage you to clear the clutter out of your spare room to make a studio space. Whatever you desire, whatever your real priorities are, there are solutions available to you to put those things front and center again.
You may be saying to yourself that things aren’t that easy. Your life isn’t that simple. There is x, y, and z to be considered. And what about this thing over here? Or that other thing over there?
I’ll be honest, we all have our roadblocks, our doubts, our fears, especially when it comes to making a radical change in the way we structure our lives. We let our big “buts” stand in the form of what our spirits are calling for.
Maybe your “but” is large, heavy, and well developed. Perhaps you’ve taken that “but” to the gym, every day for the last decade, reinforcing those excuses over and over until you feel like you can’t move anymore.
Well, now’s the time to start shrinking that “but”!
You are rearranging your life so that it reflects your priorities and not your struggle. We all know, on a deep level, what things are significant to us at the end of the day, and what ideas light us up inside. We also happen to be good at spinning off into worst-case scenarios and allowing our fears to keep us stuck, letting each year fly by on autopilot. Until one day, you lose your job, a loved one dies, the stock market crashes, or we get a scary diagnosis.
These catastrophic events always throw our priorities into stark relief, but what if we could mindfully clarify them today? What if we could decide right now what kind of life we want to be living, and make the courageous leap into a simpler, more heart-centered, soul-powered existence?
Don’t wait for a tragedy to strike or for a personal loss to be your wake-up call. Make the changes you want to make now. All it takes is two little questions.