Not too long ago, I was on the verge of a breakdown. I wasn’t happy with the amount of work I was doing, and I didn’t feel as though I had enough time to do what I wanted. On top of that, I was struggling with my health, and didn’t feel as though I could exercise as much as I wanted. I was eating junk food and feeling generally “blah.”
I felt as though my life was out of control.
But then I realized something: I set my own priorities.
What Do YOU Think is Important?
One of the first things I realized is that I wasn’t taking the time to take care of myself. I wasn’t making my health a priority, so it was suffering. And, since I wasn’t taking care of my health, I felt bad frequently and I wasn’t very productive.
The first change I made was to carve out time to exercise first thing during the day. Rather than saving it until later, I now exercise first. Interestingly, starting the day with exercise, and a healthy breakfast, has made a huge difference. I’m more focused and productive, and that has led to a reduction in stress.
Choosing my priorities, and making sure that what’s most important is taken care of first, has vastly improved my life in the last few weeks.
Take a few minutes to really think about your life, and what’s happening. If you feel too busy, or if you are struggling with something, it’s time to re-think the situation. List out all the things in your life, whether it’s something you are doing or how you are spending money.
Go through the list and identify items that are truly important to you. Do you really want to be consumed by PTA meetings? Is it important for you to have the latest gadget? Really evaluate all of the places you go, things you do, and money you spend. Identify the most important items, and the least important items. Then, knock the least important items off your list, moving the most important items to the top of the list.
Start bringing your life in line with your own priorities and values.
Take it a Little at a Time
In some cases, even if you want to adjust your life, it’s hard to just make wholesale changes. Instead, you need to make your adjustments a little at a time. I didn’t just start exercising each morning for 45 minutes. I had to incorporate exercise a little at a time. I started with 10 minutes, and began working my way up as I began adjusting the rest of my schedule to accommodate my new priorities.
Little changes can be important, since they are easier to maintain. Start with something small, and make the adjustments that are most sustainable to start. Over time, as you slowly eliminate the less important things from your life, you will find that your situation has improved, and that you are living a life that more closely resembles your ideal.
Image: puuikibeach via Flickr