It’s Time To Get Your Personal Priorities Back on Track
Here are two questions you need to ask yourself – especially if you’re serious about wanting to change your life.
Episode 38 - Here are two questions you need to ask yourself, especially if you’re serious about wanting to change your life.
A few months ago, many of us were writing down our resolutions and making commitments to stop smoking, get a better job, find a spouse, lose weight, and lots of other desirable changes in our lives.
How’s everyone doing?
Annual studies and surveys tell us the same story every year, and frankly, we’re not doing very well.
Hey, welcome back. This is roger Reid with another episode of success point 360.
So what’s the problem? Why have eighty percent of us not only given up on pursuing the changes we wanted to make, but we’ve also forgotten about why they were important in the first place?
Maybe some of these reasons will sound familiar……
“It was impossible to stay on my diet. The company had me traveling most of the month, and you know how fattening restaurant food is.”
“I fully intended to begin that Spanish course, but the kids started little league and then the basement flooded, and then all hell broke loose.”
“I tried to schedule an hour a day to write, but with the new project at work starting, and the extra paperwork, something had to give.”
And so we move on. We might feel a twinge of regret, but at most, we mourn our good intentions and then quickly concentrate on whatever is most urgent at the time.
So, does that mean that eighty percent of us are predisposed to failure because of the existing circumstances in our lives? On the surface, it might seem that way. But it actually goes much deeper than that.
It’s more about our motivation — that emotion that gets us excited and drives us to take action — it’s when that drive becomes diluted with the everyday demands of life. And it happens to all of us. None of us are immune.
So what sets the other productive twenty percent — the ones who follow through with their plans to create a new business, or find a new life partner, or shed an extra fifty pounds — apart from those who remain stuck in a life they desperately want to change?
The answer is pretty simple . . . Those successful twenty percent are always ready to pick up the pieces and start over. Just because they had to stop to take care of an urgent priority or something distracted them from staying on track, didn’t stop them completely. They simply took care of the interruption and then resumed the activities that will move them closer to their goals.
And they realized they didn’t need to wait until next January to do it.
If you’re ready to join the productive twenty percent, the best place to start is to understand that the calendar is arbitrary. You can set new life objectives whenever you’re ready. If there’s something you really want to do, start right now. If you want to take a look at the goals and resolutions you made back in January, that’s great. Just use the following questions and suggestions to revise and re-prioritize your efforts.
Here’s the first question: Do you have too many goals?
It’s normal to want to change everything at once — to attempt a total life makeover. But trying to accomplish too many changes at the same time often keeps us from doing anything.
For example, I often have consulting clients who present me with a long list of changes they want to make. They might want to change their profession, find a new spouse, buy an income property, start a side gig, spend more time with the kids, and the list goes on and on.
The first thing I do is to suggest this exercise: If you had ten goals and failed to make progress on any of them, choose the three that still mean the most to you — the ones that would make a real difference in your life if you were able to accomplish them.
Next, prioritize those three goals even further by asking yourself which one is a must-have. The reason we fail to accomplish important changes in our life is because we allow our current activities to take priority over our new objectives. And when that happens, it makes the truth painfully clear: If you weren’t able to make any progress on a particular goal, it was never a must have.
The moral of the story is to pick one goal and get it done, before you move on to something else.
Because trying to pursue more than one goal at a time is an open invitation to conflicting behavior and intentions.
For example, if one of your goals is to save fifteen percent of your income to start an investment fund, and you also want to buy a new home, replace your aging car, and increase your charitable contributions, you have a major conflict.
Choose one objective– the most important one to you — and start. Save the others to review in six months from now.
Here’s question number two: Do your goals belong to someone else?
In helping some of my clients work through their goal-setting strategies, the largest hurdle is often overcoming the need to impress someone or to meet the expectations of family, friends, or business associates. In practice, this usually leads to disappointment, especially in the long term.
When we talk about personal goals, you should always make sure they serve and benefit you, and your desired outcome. If you come to the conclusion that you’ve been following the wrong path – because you wanted or needed to please others, don’t be reluctant to stop pursuing something you no longer want, or never wanted in the first place
And this is where you need to separate your employer’s goals from those you originate for yourself. Certainly, your employer expects you to accomplish certain benchmarks, for example, if you’re in sales, it might be to meet a monthly or annual quota. And that’s fine, because you’re paid to do just that. You’re being compensated for working on the things that are important to management. But remember, we’re talking about the things you want to accomplish that are for you, to make your life more rewarding, more satisfying.
A lot of folks who ask me to help organize their personal objectives have expressed their concern about what others will think, especially when changing their direction in life. Maybe your family has always thought of you as a stable provider, someone they can always count on to go to work, make a living, and then at the end of the day, come home and get ready to do it all over again the next day. But if you suddenly decide to quit your job and pursue a new career as a photographer, or writer, or painter, it raises a red flag, because that kind of change can affect them, not only in terms of financial security, but how it looks to their friends . . .
“Hey, my dad used to be a big-shot corporate executive, but then he decided to do something else, so now he takes pictures and tries to sell them on the internet.”
That kind of story typically invokes pity – I mean, the poor man, what happened to him? Is he undergoing some kind of mid-life crisis, or did he have a stoke, or suffer some other kind of health problem that forced him to give up a great job and piddle around with a camera?
So bottom line, yeah, people are going to talk. The drama mama’s are going to have a field day, and one of the challenges you’re going to face is having to deal with other people’s opinions, because everyone is going to have one—and you can bet the majority of them are not going to be supportive. Just realize that not everyone is going to understand your reasons and rationale for the changes you want to make. And unfortunately, the ones with the loudest voice are usually the ones who are least affected by what you ultimately decide to do.
Let’s talk more specifically about how to get your personal priorities back on track!
Once you have your number one goal or objective identified, use the following 4 guidelines to prioritize your time and resources:
- Determine the first step, then take it.
This sounds so basic and elementary, but you’d be surprised how many people who want to do something different with their lives can never get themselves to move beyond their comfort zone. Knowing your first step — and taking it — recharges your confidence and gives you a real sense of new direction. This is also an excellent test to determine how realistic your goals are. If you have no idea how to start, you may be trying to pursue an unrealistic fantasy — another distraction that moves you further from making desirable changes in your life that are both realistic and attainable.
And if you can’t take that first step because you don’t know what it is, then your first step is easy. You need to begin a process of research to learn how others have accomplished similar objectives . . . that becomes your first step.
- Expect the fear . . . because it’s real!
This is especially true if your goal is centered on career change. The biggest concern is typically financial. It’s difficult to put your economic security at risk — until you realize it’s always at risk. Our future income — as employees or entrepreneurs — is never guaranteed.
If you’re currently employed, keep your job until you’re ready to replace it. If there must be a transition between your old income and the new, plan for it. Stop buying what you don’t need. No more eating out or buying five dollar coffees, or committing to a new lease payment because you want to drive the latest model car.
Saving what you’ve been spending on luxury purchases can be a vital first step to investing in your new future.
- Don’t let money goals misguide you, or steer you away from your real purpose in life.
Setting a goal of having enough money to pay all the bills at the end of the month describes a problem, not a goal.
And while having more money is often the result of setting new monetary goals, increasing your financial freedom can also result from accomplishing a specific life change, for example, starting a new career, learning new skills, or starting your own business.
- Above all, decide that now is the time to take action
None of us want to live a life filled with boredom or frustration. The years pass quickly, and before we know it, we can find ourselves settling into a comfortable rut. Maybe you’ve been too busy responding to life’s little “emergencies” and can’t seem to get back on track. But we each receive a very limited number of years to accomplish our dreams. So start now, because your first goal should be to do the most you can with the time you have left.”
Hey, that’s it for this episode. As usual, if you have a question or comment, you can leave me a voice message on the website, www.successpoint360.com – just click on the voicemail link in the main header. You can also shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.
© 2021, Roger A. Reid
For more information about the author, his work, or to subscribe to this podcast, visit www.SuccessPoint360.com
Be sure and check out my new book now available on Amazon in eBook. It’s titled Better Mondays: The New Rules for Creating Financial Success and Personal Freedom (While Working For the Man)
I’ve lowered the price for the Kindle version, so if you or someone you know is struggling with a job that doesn’t provide anything more than a paycheck, or you’re ready to use your employer as a launching pad to start your own business, you’ll find the tools you need to take control of your professional success and to change your life for the better.
You can find more information on my website, www.successpoint360.com. I’ve posted the first chapter on the site as a free read, so I encourage you to take a look.