I’d like you to grab a piece of paper and write down your answers to a few questions I’m about to ask. It’ll be important in a minute, you’ll see. So I’ll wait……..
What is important to you? Don’t read any further, please, until you’ve written your answer. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or involved, just a quick point form list will do.
This little exercise can be quite a profound experience if you do it, so please do yourself a favour and take a few moments with this.
Okay. Next question. Who is important to you? Another quick point form list, please.
Now, a separate list. Please jot down what has eaten up your week. Make a few notes about how you spent your time over the past seven days. What were you doing each day?
One more thing: What were you thinking about during the week? What was on your mind?
I really hope you wrote those answers down because there’s something about seeing them in writing that works better than just leaving it all in your head.
Now, please take a look at your list of what you did and what you thought about for the past week. Most people have a whole lot of stuff on their lists that is about work – whether it’s about their jobs or the housework, the errands, the obligations, the responsibilities, the meetings, the children’s homework and music lessons and the groceries and the meals blah blah blah.
Okay, let’s take a look at your list of what is important to you. Chances are, some of that stuff is on that list, as it should be. But are there things on that list that aren’t getting your attention? Why not?
Look at the list of who is important to you. Did those people make it onto your list of how you spent your time and what you were thinking about? Did you even make it onto your own list?
If there is something incongruent about all of this, perhaps you could stand a shift in your priorities. If you say it’s important to play and enjoy your life more, then do it. If you say your health and well-being are important, then make choices that reflect that. If you say your children, your parents, your sister, your friends are important to you, then make sure they know it. Write. Phone. Email. Send a card. Organise spending time together.
And don’t forget: Really, you must be on that list of who is important to you. If you’re not, then put yourself right at the top and make sure you spend time doing something for yourself every day, even if it’s only for 10 or 15 minutes.
We give our attention to what is important to us. Sometimes we know what - or who - should be important, and we can say all the right stuff on that subject, but really, in our heart of hearts, our priorities are a mess.
It's truly a case of actions speaking louder than words. If you say something or someone is important to you, then show it. Prove it. Live it. No more excuses.