Get Your Life Priorities Straight – Busting the Purpose and Goals Myths
by Erika Slater
Do you have the priorities in your life straight?
Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing, that is the important things you should be doing?
Perhaps you’re wasting your thoughts, time and energy on pointless things that are robbing you of your productivity to do great things, or get the most out of your life.
Too many people today are skipping to the tune of others’ expectations.
Individuals are spending so much of their time sacrificing their dreams or goals for others, or to meet the needs of others, they neglect their own desires and core dreams.
Are you someone who’s put aside your life priorities because someone set their own on you?
First of all, this isn’t yet another self-improvement piece about finding your life’s purpose or setting your long-term goals to fulfill that purpose… and then you die. There’s plenty of books and courses out there that may help you do that if that’s what you need.
For most of us these are myths sold by gurus and just frustrate us so I’ll offer some alternatives to you and give you my thoughts for eliminating the clutter of priorities that can get in the way of your life priorities.
Let’s begin, though, by discussing what things can get in your way of setting those priorities…
LIVING YOUR LIFE BY PROXY AND HAPPENSTANCE:
Most people have difficulties getting their priorities straight.
They either don’t know what they want, or they’re too vague when it comes to being precise or flexible for their goals.
Often times, people set priorities as they go along, changing them in mid-stream, compromising them for the needs of others, or tossing them aside when they become frustrated or bored with their lives.
When you do this your priorities become based on a ‘getting by’ mentality whereby you really don’t put passion or desire into them.
When it comes to prioritizing ‘things’ or activities in your life, it’s based primarily on perception, attitude and how you choose to respond to situations in your life. With that said, too many people set their priorities by ‘letting life happen’ to them and then choosing to respond.
When you respond out of happenstance, you’re letting only current circumstances dictate how you’re to live your life, rather than actively engaging life and setting the ground rules. It’s the classic “tail wagging the dog.”
When this happens, you’re living ‘by proxy’ in that you react to life, or you let others determine how and what you’re going to do. In essence, they’re doing your thinking for you.
Many of us are given the task to figure out what we want to do with our lives in high school. Effectively, deciding in your late teens what career you’ll choose, whether you’ll go to college, and if you do what your degree major will be. Would you, as James Altucher says, “put your life today in the hands of a 20-year old?”
There’s empirical evidence that most of us will change careers at least seven times during our lives. So, the chances most of us have any real idea what our passion or purpose in life is, during our college years, is remote.
If you’re read any self-improvement book and/or gone to the mega rallies of self-help gurus then to a tee, they’ll discuss figuring out your life purpose so you can set goals and priorities in support of that purpose.
To some people this “life purpose” is there almost from birth. They have a passion for music and so their purpose is to join a band and entertain by brightening up people’s lives. Or they want to be a Doctor and help make people better. This is their passion and purpose and their priorities are set after high school: college, med school, residency, etc.
Unfortunately, there are more that struggle to grasp their purpose in life. Even at 40-years or 50-years of age their life purpose eludes them. And this bugs them because the world, and army of gurus, have told them they have to figure this out to be happy! OMG!
These means people go through life without “this purpose” and feel empty and aimless. Worse, they struggle to have goals without a purpose and so feel lost.
Time for damage control…
Buying into this purpose bandwagon isn’t the answer. There’s an alternative approach.
GETTING YOUR LIFE PURPOSES, GOALS AND PRIORITIES STRAIGHT:
Don’t agonize over searching for the meaning of your life and its purpose. Your life has many purposes and much meaning not just one that everything must synthesize or relate to.
If you really think about it and set an intention you can “save a life every day.”
I’m not talking about super-hero activities here, but helping somebody by doing an errand for them.
Or brightening up somebody’s day by complimenting them on something they did that otherwise goes unrecognized. Showing gratitude to somebody.
You don’t know what folks are going through everyday and should never assume because outwardly they seem happy and contented, inside they are, and so don’t need a kind word.
A kind word can “save a life.”
You may have family or a special needs child that requires your support, but this doesn’t mean you can‘t also have a purpose to educate others with an expertise you’ve acquired, or been trained to share.
There may be volunteer work you’re involved in, or as an entrepreneur starting a business and providing work and jobs to others. Maybe you’re a entertainer or writer and can use your talents to create assets you can pass onto family or donate during your lifetime or in your will.
It’s time to look at your life as a chain of purposes you can recognize through your life. Focusing on finding one purpose in life means you’ll pass up opportunities to have multiple ones, because you’ll always be wondering if this is the “one” or should I wait until I know for sure? Spoiler Alert: You only have today so don’t wait… go for it!
Have an avalanche of purposes! (I’ve provided a link to a supporting view of this concept in the resource section below.)
So, your priorities should be based on your purposes along with values and principles you set for yourself, and not by others.
A word about values and principles…
Most of the values and principles you hold sacred were taught to you, or handed down by your parents, or role models.
Unfortunately, if they didn’t set good priorities for themselves and neglected to teach you what was really important in life, then you most likely may struggle with getting your own priorities straight.
When this happens, it’s most likely you may either, not take setting priorities properly, or letting others determine what will be deemed as most important for you. Let your purposes guide your life priorities and your goals.
Now a word about goals…
Firstly, I do believe in goals. I have run workshops on them and anybody working in business, either as a entrepreneur, or a corporate employee, knows goals get you to a target and are good for business and your career!
But when it comes to personal goals there’s growing evidence that focusing solely on outcomes invariably means, when you attain those goals you may not get the happiness in life you thought you’d get. (You can find the link to an article elaborating on this in the resource section below.)
Here’s an excerpt from the article referencing a study on weight loss – a topic I’m intimate with and follow for my clients…
“… If you’ve ever dieted, the findings of this study won’t surprise you: when participants who wanted to lose weight slipped up, they were more likely to say ‘I blew it’… and have another piece of cake. But when those who focused on the process of eating more healthily gave into temptations they were more likely to compensate afterwards. As a result, the people who focused less on their goal were more likely to meet it.”
This isn’t saying don’t have goals… but what it does say is… don’t focus on them. Once you’ve set the intent of your goal then put blinders on and focus on the process and not the outcome.
This goes against the conventional wisdom of visualizing the outcome of your goal or posting a picture on your fridge of the weight you want to be.
Life priorities – not daily – have to take into account your purposes and goals, and not those of others. You’ll not easily be able to shed work commitments of bosses but be frugal with doing things for others you deem as an obligation.
Only when you’ve begun to connect the dots together can you begin to set priorities to achieve your goals
This is all your choice.
If you want to consider working directly with me on your life priorities and goals, or a more specific issue, through my online and in-office sessions, then check out my Special Hypnosis Services Programs.
I wrote a post recently I’ve linked to in the resources section below. This article will provide more help in setting expectations as you work through your own potential, and any gaps you may think you have, as this thinking will muddy the waters of recognizing your purposes and priorities.
There are a number of moving parts I’ve discussed today: purposes, priorities, and goals. Let me try and tie it all together for you.
Ideally, your life priorities start with your purposes.
If your life purpose hasn’t appeared to you before college or even before 60-years of age don’t fret. Instead, accept you’ll have many purposes in life and this will make for a richer and more rewarding one anyway.
Pick up purposes as you go through life through: family, friends, causes, volunteer, business, personal hobbies, etc. Many of these will not only enrich your life but those of others you touch.
You may have specific goals attached to each purpose and this is fine but just make sure you don’t focus on the outcomes only, and end up dropping a “purpose” because you were too confining with the goals attached to a purpose.
Setting your life priorities becomes much easier when your purposes and supporting goals are in alignment. They become the beacons by which you make choices and help set your life priorities.
If you need help setting life priorities so you can focus on what’s important to you then check out this self-hypnosis session to help stop wasting your time here >>>
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO LIFE PRIORITIES:
Why We Should All Give Up On Goals Already – BBC >>>
Mind the Gap – Moving to the Right Side of Your Potential Gap – Erika Slater >>>
Your Life Serves More Than One Purpose – Odyssey >>>
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Erika Slater CH
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