Prioritizing Something for the First Time- A Beginner’s Guide

The notion of prioritizing something I have never before made a priority has interested me lately. A few things popped out: 1) we don’t acknowledge this very real occurrence and 2) it’s not as easy as it looks to just start prioritizing something that has traditionally fallen by the wayside.

Basically, there are 8 main areas of life: career/profession, personal finance, health/aging, intimate and social relationships, fun & enjoyment, spiritual awareness, personal development and family. There are exercises you can do to understand and raise awareness of your satisfaction levels with each area. In looking at my areas over time, I noticed that I’m consistently satisfied or on-the-way-to-being-satisfied in all but one area: relationships.

The question that hit me like a ton of bricks lately was this: I had actively made all  those other areas of my life a priority at various points in time, and more or less, it was workin’ for me. Why didn’t I think I would have to make this one a priority, too? 

In other words, a great career didn’t just fall into my lap- I had to work at it. Health & Wellness is something I work at every single day! Did I really think my life partner would lock eyes with me in the NYC subway and that would be it?

So, I decided to take action. What can you do for those areas of your life you have never before made a priority? I’m glad you asked:

1. Determine Why It’s Important To You: What in your life would be different for you if you were able to improve or optimize this part of your world? Why is that important to you? What does that say about your values? These are just a few of the literally dozens of questions you can ask to really get to the bottom of why it matters.

2. Ensure It’s Not Important To Someone Who Is Not You: This is a big one, peeps! If any of the answers to the above questions come from a “I Have to Prioritize This” place, then it’s highly likely that wanting to prioritize whatever-it-is is coming from a place of fear and scarcity. For awhile, I wondered if I was trying to prioritize pursuing  a long-term relationship because others around me were talking about it and quote: That’s just what people do, or some other cultural ‘norm’ or pressure.

3. Know That It’s OK To Make The Tough Decisions: It’s ok to choose to prioritize one aspect of your life knowing you’ll have less time for something else. When I first started my coaching practice, for example, I knew that for a (long) while, it would be difficult to fit friends in the way I traditionally had. But I was crystal clear on my answers to #s 1 and 2 above, so with that unwavering resolve, I was able to make the tough decision to socialize and see people less.

4. This is not an overnight transformation: This ish takes work! Sometimes the path might not be easy and regular check-ins with yourself, especially revisiting #1 above, are highly recommended to make sure you’re still on the right path for you. Feelings and thoughts change, so it’s ok if you choose to change your path right along with them.

In both my examples above- the long-term relationship and career change- I am still on the journey. We hear about “overnight successes” in our daily vernacular and culture, and I’m here to tell you that that is most definitely not the norm. Practice patience, self care and create an understanding with yourself that whatever your goal is will take time- and then start prioritizing away!

 

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