My husband and I use Google Maps quite often. There are just way too many routes we could use to get to any given place in this city, and I usually get overwhelmed with all the options we have available, but it’s nice to be able to weigh such options so we ultimately don’t get stuck in a traffic jam down the road.
I believe it’s the same way with our lives. We usually have a pretty fair idea of where we’d like to be or do, short-term and even long-term, but life is happening so fast, we are so used to being in a hurry, that all too often we don’t take the time to stop and determine what path we should move towards in order to have a more pleasant trip.
Recently I shared a post about the decision to go through 2017 without setting goals. It’s an interesting concept and it makes sense for me to adopt it for the time being since I’m enjoying not having the pressure to execute such goals. The way I see it, if I want to do something, I don’t necessarily have to take note of it and consider it a goal, I just do it. Let’s be honest, one reason that procrastination occurs is the fact we have no desire to do something. Obviously there are exceptions, as we all know.
It’s a simple concept, though, because the simple life allows for it. I have enough time in my hands to do the things I have the desire to do. No need to leave them in the back burner only to see them slip into oblivion, caused by life’s constant demands, or fear. Let’s not forget procrastination.
Instead, I want to have a direction in life to guide every decision I make, which simplifies the whole life-navigating process. I spent some time thinking about the following questions:
- What do I value in life?
- What do I believe has a certain degree of importance that makes everything else be a non-essential?
- What is a non-negotiable?
- What do I want to focus on?
It’s crucial to put some thought to these, since whatever we say yes to, we’ll in turn be saying no to something else. And we should be able to come up with a couple of things without a flinch; experiences and decisions from both the past and present should give us a pretty good idea of the direction we want to head towards. It serves as a life compass, where prioritizing becomes second-nature.
I’ve come up with 5 main areas, much like what The Minimalists go by, so here they are with a couple of personal examples:
- Health – physical (nutrition & exercise), spiritual (Bible study & prayer) and mental (gratitude, solitude, mindfulness)
- Growth – acquiring knowledge on specific subjects, developing a skill, being well-read
- Relationships – strengthening my marriage, spending time with family, connecting with friends, some networking to meet like-minded people
- Passion – writing, photography, reading
- Contribution – blogging, monetary to charity, volunteering
I’m slowly but surely trying to create my own manifesto, a mission statement if you will, and having these areas in mind is a good place to start. With them at the forefront of my mind, I will find it much easier to accept or turn down those events, projects, requests and major life decisions that do not align with these values.
In the end, my schedule is cleaner, I have more time, more options, I am surprisingly more productive and less busy (there is a difference). There are detours that will need to be taken here and there, but they will be far from the norm. I am able to finally design a life full of meaning that results in joy and gratitude.
If you haven’t sat down to outline the areas in your life you’d like to prioritize, I suggest you do it. It’s not hard and you’ll soon being to see a harvest of its peaceful fruit.