Do you struggle to clearly define your priorities in life?
It can be hard to prioritise what’s important when we have busy lifestyles with demanding jobs, people to take care of and a social life to maintain. There’s a lot of things going on and sometimes it’s hard to figure out what we should be working on.
However, taking care of your priorities is crucial to avoid burnout, getting overwhelmed or missing important milestones in your life.
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what should be at the top of our priorities list. The world wants you to buy different things and people want you to do different things. You end up with a lot of competing demands on your time and energy, which makes it difficult for you to figure out how best to spend your time and energy.
This guide will help you define what your top priorities in life should be.
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What are priorities?
Priorities are the things that matter most to you. They reflect your decisions and what’s important to spend your time and energy on.
Of course, everybody has different priorities depending on their own values and interests.
For example, someone who likes adventure might prioritise climbing mountains, while someone else may choose reading every day as a priority.
And neither person is wrong; it all comes down to personal preference and how we each want to spend our time.
Why we need to set priorities
We need to set priorities so that we can figure out what’s most important in our lives.
It’s easy to get distracted and lose the sense of purpose that makes life meaningful.
You might also find yourself getting overwhelmed, losing track of time and day-dreaming about how much better things would be if you could just stop worrying about other stuff.
To solve these problems, it’s essential to figure out your priorities in life; get clarity on what really matters to you and make sure this is always at the forefront of your mind.
How to get your priorities in order
When figuring out what’s most important to you, it can help if you first determine what your core values are.
Some basic examples of core values include:
- Knowledge; and
The first step to prioritising things in your personal life is figuring out which area each priority falls under. This will make it easier for you to figure out how competing demands fit together to prioritise what matters most to you at any given point in time.
For example, consider the following categories: physical health, mental well being, skills development and relationships. These four categories encompass things that are important to living a fulfilling life.
The next step is then figuring out your top priority within each category at any given time. Here are some examples of what you might prioritise in each category:
Physical health: working out, eating healthy
Mental well being: meditating, reading books
Skills development: learning how to play an instrument, studying another language
Relationships: spending time with family, connecting with friends on social media.
Note that this is just a simple example; your priorities will vary depending on the categories you choose and how they fit into your life.
Setting priorities can be challenging but it’s important to do so if you want to live a fulfilling life. The good thing is that you get to decide how best to spend your time and energy because no one else knows exactly what’s best for you! No two people are alike so there’s no reason why everyone should have the same priorities.
What if I can’t set my priorities?
If you have a hard time figuring out what your clear priorities are, there are a number of things you can do.
For example, try taking some time to reflect on your values and determining which ones are most important to you.
You could also work with a life coach to help you determine what your priorities in life are and how you can set and reach goals in your life. The advantage of this is that you are held accountable to your life coach and must put in the work to set your priorities.
If hiring a life coaching isn’t an option, choose a trusted friend who you can work with. They can often provide insight into your life that you may not be able to see yourself. They will also hold you accountable and encourage you through the process.
Examples of what are often top priorities in life
If you’re struggling to come up with what priorities you should have at the top of your list, here are some ideas. Please note that these are just some ideas. Everybody’s priorities are different based on where they are in life, their family situation or specific goals they have already set for themselves.
#1 Physical Health
Physical well-being is often seen as a priority because it’s one of the necessities, but it can be hard to figure out what really matters most.
For many people, physical health is the number one focus they have in their life. They are always looking for ways to improve their overall condition and prevent sicknesses from happening in the future. This might include thinking about food all day long or taking care of themselves with things like sleeping more or exercising regularly.
It’s important that you prioritise your physical health because this will help establish better habits for yourself that will last into adulthood or even old age, e.g. getting enough sleep or eating healthy foods every day.
#2 Mental Health
Mental health is another important aspect of anyone’s life. It would be tough to prioritise physical health if you were to skip on mental well-being, because you can’t function properly without it
Many people have mental health issues that are quite severe, but others will face occasional issues that are not quite as severe.
Either way, making mental health a priority is important because it’s too tough to deal with anything else if your mind isn’t at its best.
#3 Emotional Health
Emotional health is key when it comes to prioritising what matters most in life. It can be tough for some people to identify and deal with their feelings, but it’s important that you try if you want your priorities to stay in balance
No matter how busy or stressed out you are, try to take a few minutes every day to check in on your emotions and how you’re feeling. This can help give you a better peace of mind, helping things in other areas of your life go more smoothly.
Having strong relationships is important to professional and personal well being. However, this can be one of the more difficult categories to prioritise because many people complain about not having enough time in the day to spend with friends or family members, building healthy relationships.
On the other hand, spending time networking makes sense for career progression so you have to figure out what works best for you. If building a career is number one in your life priorities, networking with colleagues and other professionals will be important to you.
Family is an important category to prioritise, because if you have a strong family, basically everything else will be easier to take care of.
Without family, it would be difficult to experience all the incredible things life has to offer like success and other opportunities.
Making time for family members can therefore be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, even if sometimes you feel you should focus on something else instead.
Make your kids, spouse, parents and grandparents feel appreciated on a daily basis so that you can give them everything they need to live a happy life.
#6 Personal Growth
Personal Growth should also be a priority, because without it, we likely won’t reach our full potential. Doing something like taking classes or even working on a flaw (such as anger) can help expand your perspective and make you more successful in life.
You need to constantly strive to improve yourself and your abilities so that you can step up your game as much as possible. Make sure to set aside some time for yourself as well so that you can reflect on your progress and set new goals.
#7 Skills Development
Having skills is also very helpful because it can make your professional life easier, but it’s tough to prioritise something like this if you aren’t passionate about learning new things or working toward a specific goal.
On the other hand, if you really want to work towards something like improving your piano skills, then skills development should be prioritised over everything else.
Finding balance in life is tricky, but it’s important to find a way to fit everything you need and want into your life without it feeling overwhelming or too much pressure.
When you have a more stable work-life balance and allow for the right amount of time for friends, family, hobbies and relaxation, you’ll find it much easier to stay on top of your priorities.
#9 Self Care
Self care is one of the most important things you should prioritise in your life because it’s so easy to neglect this area. Spending quality time on self care can help you avoid burnouts, which are caused by stress and fatigue. It also helps cultivate a better mood, so feeling happier is something that you should prioritise.
Self care could be getting enough sleep or eating right or creating an environment that allows you to get through your daily routines without stress. Self-care is essential to living a healthy life because it’s about caring for yourself no matter how busy you are.
Many people choose education as one of their top priorities in life.
Education doesn’t have to mean what level of schooling you make it to, but rather educating yourself on things you need to know throughout life; personal finance, how to cook, how to manage relationships, how to use a computer.
I am continuously educating myself on the world of blogging and taking various business courses to further my education.
#11 Financial Security
Having a solid financial standing is another important priority for many. The more healthy your finances are, the easier it will be to live without worry.
It’s really tough to prioritise some things if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, but prioritising your finances is important because it will allow you to accomplish specific tasks more easily.
Set up a budget and make sure you understand where all of your money goes each month so that you can figure out what’s the best way to plan for the future.
Everyone wants to be happy, right? Of course!
But often people forget about happiness as a priority because they’re busy with other things. Happiness needs to be at the top of your list because if you’re too busy and stressed, the other things on your list will not get done and you’ll resent them and feel unhappy.
What is your passion? What makes you happy? And what’s most important to you?
Whether it’s going out with friends, travelling or having a good old belly laugh with your family. All of these bring you joy and happiness. Finding different ways to enjoy the simple things in life should be one of our top priorities in life.
Life would be pretty boring without experiences, so make sure to add this to your list of priorities – find the time to do the things you want and seek out new experiences.
Travel, try something new, and enjoy life! Experiences bring us joy that will stay with us forever.
Whether you believe in religion or spiritual practices, you should prioritise having some kind of spiritual practice in your life. Meditating, reflecting and being mindful can all help you find peace and balance in life.
Spirituality can provide a sense of comfort and peace that can give us much needed perspective when things feel overwhelming or chaotic. It can help us put our shortcomings into perspective and show us what really matters in life.
#15 Finding your Purpose
Finally, finding your purpose in life keeps us motivated and focused. You may have a career goal or even charity work that you find meaningful – whatever it is, prioritising working on the important tasks that you really care about keeps you moving forward and helps you stay focused.
What are my top priorities in life?
In no particular order of importance, here are some (but not all) of my own priorities in life. Some have not always been, and some have always been priorities. Perhaps they might help you to see what you should be prioritising in your life.
This was definitely not always high on my priority list. In fact, up until recently, I ignored my health quite a bit. I was diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases and instead of taking action and figuring out what I needed to do to get them in order, I turned a blind eye.
However, at my last doctor’s appointment, for the first time since I can remember, my tests came back to show that my levels were all in order.
And I’m not just working on my physical health. An incident of burnout really helped me to embrace slow living and realise what my priorities are. I took the time to heal and have been more mindful of looking after my mental health since then.
Friends and Family
While I don’t have a huge circle of friends, I love my small group of friends and I prioritise making time to spend with them. Even if it’s just grabbing a quick coffee or sending a funny picture I saw earlier that day and made me think of them.
I live 7000km away from my friends and family, so a big weekly priority I have is various skype sessions with them. I often turn down other plans because I see my skype plan as just as important, if not more.
Travel and adventure has always been high on my list of priorities. I guess that’s why I moved half way across the world – so I could have more opportunities to travel and see the world!
Sometimes I travel alone, sometimes with groups of strangers, sometimes with friends and sometimes with family, but it’s something that brings me so much happiness, whatever way I do it.
Obviously, this wasn’t always a priority, since I only started writing a few years ago, but ever since the day I bought my first domain I’ve spent all my spare time blogging.
I love writing, educating myself and doing more and more blogging courses and I love the sense of community that comes with blogging.
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Final thoughts on how to set your priorities in life
When you know what matters most to you and can make decisions based on those principles, everything else falls into place more easily.
It’s okay to change what you prioritise in your life because that’s just part of finding yourself. Over time, you might go through periods where relationships are prioritised over all else; making sure family members are comfortable and happy first, followed by hobbies and interests, making time for reading books or playing music every day.
Knowing your true priorities in life means you can cut through the noise, stop wasting time on unimportant stuff and start living a more fulfilling life.
Taking some time to figure out the most important things in your life can help you build a better life with less stress and more joy.