About six months ago, I recall joking with friends and saying things like, “our priorities are real straight!”—mainly when making frivolous purchases or neglecting certain items on our to-do lists.

But a TON has changed since those simpler times.

We are living in a moment where taking full inventory of our commitments and responsibilities has become the priority.  But how do we even begin to find the meaning and importance in our priorities? Especially when everything feels like a priority.

What is important to you at this moment?

There is a lot going on in the world, so the distractions and reasons to escape your priorities are endless.  It’s important to remember, however, that in order to change how we feel we have to change what we do.  We have to rewire the way we perceive and evaluate our priorities.  Give ourselves the space and permission to slow down and search for growth.  Whether you recently lost your job or you feel more overworked than ever.  Whether you’re finding balance in your relationship or wondering if it will last. Or opting to save money instead of spending it recklessly. This is the moment to step back and process how you’ve been living your life and decide if it still makes sense to continue on this path?

Strip it all down to your personal values.  What are your motivating factors?  Even if your values revolve around family and/or other external factors, the important thing to understand is that values are not ever “checked off” your list priorities.  They are part of your being and will continuously surface when you feel lost or unable to focus on what matters to you.  The key is to align those values into preferable habits and attainable goals.  

There will be times that your priorities and goals will conflict, but your values can guide you back to alignment.  We can’t control others, their behavior or their values.  What we can control is our response and interaction with them.  

By setting boundaries and establishing clear goals you can reclaim your values and purpose.  Asking yourself questions like, “Will I feel better after I do this?” or “Am I proud of this behavior?” can help align your priorities with your values. 

Assess your priorities by: 

  • Practicing mindfulness (awareness of something)
  • Spending less time on your phone (actually on ALL devices)
  • Surrounding yourself with supportive relationships and asking for their guidance
  • Setting internal and external boundaries
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Visualizing your goal
  • Getting in touch with your creative side (whatever that means for you!)
  • Journaling (to record your thoughts, feelings, and growth)
  • Carving out some alone time (to enjoy yourself!)
  • Bonding with loved ones (including pets!)

What do you enjoy?

Another way to check in on your priorities is to observe and understand what you truly enjoy in your life.  Is it something that you’re already doing?  Is it something you want to do more of?  Is it something you would like to start doing? Instead of overwhelming you with a list of questions, let me simply say, focus on the activities or habits that bring (or can bring) you joy! While it may take some inner detective work to find what really fulfills you, it will definitely be worth the trouble. 

As part of this detective work, pay attention to how you spend your days and nights.  Who are you sharing your energy with? What entertains you?  What drains you? How do you talk to yourself? Do you have a morning or evening routine? Sometimes finding our joy can be as easy as evaluating and adjusting our small—and sometimes toxic—habits.  

The priorities or goals set forth could be challenging but attainable.  It’s all about mindset and accountability. If they’re specific and measurable they are easier to accomplish.  For example, instead of “I will spend less time on social media” the priority could be “I will spend 30 minutes a day away from my devices”.  Start from where you’re at and build from there, not where you believe you need to be.

We hear all about self-care and I will emphasize that here too! Choose to take care of yourself because in turn it creates self-love, which brings fulfillment that hits different.  I read somewhere that “love is the currency you will never run out of” and even though we tend to prioritize giving our love to others—we should normalize loving ourselves first and foremost. 

Simple ways to love yourself:

  • REST! (good sleep, a vacation, a break from responsibilities, honestly ANYTHING “unproductive”)
  • Eat nourishing foods
  • Do some breathwork
  • Set up ambient lighting (candles or dim lights)
  • Stretch often
  • Get active (even if it’s a short walk around the block)
  • Hydrate! (I can’t stress this one enough)
  • Spend time outdoors (bonus points if it’s out in the sun or in nature)
  • Clean/organize your space (it will almost immediately bring in a new energy)
  • Honestly, orgasm as often as possible (solo or with a partner)
  • Hot baths
  • Cold showers (this doesn’t sound fun, but it will give you a reboot!)
  • Get a massage

You are the priority.

If you read this far, then you probably sense where I’m going with this. YOU are the priority. Not the things you have or haven’t done. Check in with yourself to know and realign with your values and goals. Don’t fight yourself for not prioritizing the right things. Instead, look inward and find or put together the pieces that will help you find happiness and meaning in the moment.  Happiness is a moving target.  Sometimes you need to slow down.  Sometimes you need to change paths.  Trust your intuition—even on the hard days—because there is hope beyond the dark times.

To encourage hope during difficult moments:

  • Meditate (awareness of nothing)
  • Pray
  • Observe nature (I mean truly observe it)
  • Spend quality time with loved ones
  • Get creative (anything that helps you fully express yourself) 
  • Listen to a damn good playlist (music heals!)
  • Forgive (not just others but also yourself)
  • Dance it out (change the energy frequency in your body)
  • Volunteer
  • Read (to escape and/or seek knowledge)

Trust in each of the steps that led you to where you are today.  The “right” path isn’t something you can just hop on.  It is something you build toward. Your happiness and sense of meaning surround you when you stop waiting for things to happen, and instead choose to make the most of the present moment.  Challenge yourself and challenge everything you think you know about how your world should or shouldn’t operate.

This moment is a wake up call.

You are the only one living your life, why not live it the best way you know how!