What Is Most Important?

I have a chalkboard in the front hallway of my house and on it I write little sayings, inspirations, words, questions, mantras that I need to focus on and remember. Right now, it still has the words I wrote this summer as I began working to lose weight and eating healthier, “This is not apple fritter season.” On my birthday in June I discovered a local bakery that made gluten free doughnuts and apple fritter pastries. I haven’t had an apple fritter with their fried, crunchy edges in seven years since going gluten free and it was heaven. As I fought to make healthy decisions, I could almost taste the crunchy goodness and I had to fight myself from giving in to paying them a visit. I just said to myself one day, right out loud because you know I talk to myself at home, “This is not apple fritter season.” My health was the most important thing at that moment and I knew I had to be singularly focused on that as I began this journey. That was most important.

We make decisions everyday about what is most important whether we do so intentionally or not.

–  Is saving or enjoying a vacation most important?
– Is spending time with family and friends most important?
– Is exercise and eating healthy even when things get stressful most important?
– Is advancing my career or staying in the same city most important?

Daily Decide What Is Most Important

Each morning, or perhaps at the beginning of the week use the “What Is Most Important?” question to frame your day. Use it to guide your schedule making, guide your meal planning, guide your spending plan. When you make a conscious decision about what is most important it is easier to keep your priorities when life happens.

With each yes you make, there will have to be a no. With everything you choose, you have to let something go. These may be priorities, something on your to do list, even a value that you still honor but decide something else has greater value now. My sister sent me a meme once that said, “You can’t be who you are going to be and who you used to be at the same time.”

It may be that today being able to go with the flow, have enough energy to make it through the day, start new work, spend time with friends, etc is more important than making it to that exercise class, eating 1000 calories or going for a run.

It may be that today you look at your to do list and decide that something is going to have to take a back seat. One work project is just more important that another.

Whatever it is, once you have set your intention, you can do your best to build your life, day, schedule around it to make it happen.

Seasonally Decide What Is Most Important

When you spend energy to decide every day what is most important, you are able to occasionally take a thirty thousand foot view of your choices. Sometimes the decisions we make in the moment when we feel like we are just trying to dog paddle through life, are not the decisions we need to make for a sustaining future.

Things have gone unsaid, conflicts have been avoided because we decided it was most important to keep the peace for that day.

We have spent too much and realize that we have to save for the future.

We have closed others out in order to have control of our lives and realize in the bigger picture, we need relationships.

We have avoided making career changes, tough decisions about work or avoided more education because it seemed too complicated at the time.

When you’ve made a conscious decision about what is most important on a smaller size, you are able to make an intentional decision that best serves what is most important for your future. You can change course at any time because you are clear about the course you are on now.

Practical Steps

  1. Look at your next week, look at tomorrow and decide for yourself what is most important? What has to happen? What do you need to say no to? What will be your priority? What will it take to make that happen? Write it in your calendar, or your bathroom mirror, or on a post-it you can place somewhere as a reminder. Do everything in your power to honor your priorities.
  2. Ask yourself what is most important for the next month? What is most important for the next six months? The next year? Write it in your calendar, or your bathroom mirror, or on a post-it you can place somewhere as a reminder.
  3. Set a time on your calendar, write a reminder, to take a long view back at the end of the next month about what is most important at that point? How did you do with your priorities? Have your priorities been skewed in an unhealthy manner? Is there something you can do to create change at this moment? To change your direction? Are you honoring what you say is most important? As you look at your six months, one year and beyond goals, do they need to shift?

 

Here’s to knowing there will be seasons for apple fritters, but being clear about what is most important right now.

 

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