In Nicole’s post last week she discussed How to Find More Time in Your Day by aligning your priorities and actions with your values. I know it may sound a little “woo woo,” but so much unhappiness, stress and grief occur in so many lives simply because we let life happen to us. The simple task of defining your priorities via personal values can increase your happiness dramatically and add clarity to your life.
Now before you go saying you know your priorities: family, God and career – hold up just a second. Let’s try to remove societal influences from the equation by performing a short exercise to get to the bottom of where your true values may fall. Carve out about 10 minutes and come up with three answers for each of the seven questions below.
So for example, question #1 below, “What do you consider to be your personal space and what is common to all those spaces?” my answers are: my office & books, my garage/gym & fitness equipment and my backpack & notebooks.
Now, set forth and make sure you really consider the truth for each of these questions before writing down the answers. Don’t worry, no one else will see.
- What do you consider to be your personal space and what is common to all those spaces?
- You have 24 hours in a day, besides sleep, how do you spend your time?
- What are you doing when you feel most energized and alive?
- Where are you most organized?
- What engages you and captures your attention and focus the most?
- What goals have you set that show signs they are coming true?
- What do you love talking to other people about?
Got three answers written down for each? Ok, the next step is categorizing them. So, go ahead and group your answers into broader categories. For instance, one of my answers to #1 above was my office & books and one of my answers to #3 was learning. Since the books I was referring to are non-fiction, these both fit into the same broad category of learning.
Continue this process of categorization for all your answers. When you are done, tally up the number of occurences of each category. For me, my top four are: learning, teaching, health and freedom. So you can see why I now dedicate myself to teaching what I learn in health and fitness via an online format. It fits all my top priorities, which makes Heavey very happy!
How true are you living to your top priorities? Don’t feel bad if your family didn’t break the top three, that doesn’t make you a bad person. You still care deeply for your family, but it probably means that you need to pay closer attention to your top three priorities so that you can be a better mother, father, husband or wife. Is mindlessly staring at the tv after a draining day truly quality family time or is being so enthused about the life you lead that you have deeply engaged conversations and interactions with your family a better option? You’ll notice that I don’t have family in my top four, I’m not sure I even cracked the top ten for Nicole when she did this exercise :). We have just learned that the more we tend to our individual priorities, the better we are to one another and thus the happier we are together. Ok, enough of this mushiness. I’m going to go drink some scotch and throw around a barbell. If you learn anything interesting about yourself when going through this exercise, let me know though. Ok, man stuff now. Oh, and if you want to download the worksheet to help you through this process, grab it here.
P.S. This exercise is based off something I learned during the OPEX Level 1 Life Coaching Seminar, which they found via the Demartini Institute. For those of you looking to up your coaching game, I definitely recommend checking out the OPEX seminar.