When Was The Last Time You Evaluated Your Priorities?

Written by on June 19, 2017 in Own It, Self-Awareness, Sense of Purpose with 26 Comments



Can you remember what your priorities were 10 years ago?

There would have been fundamental issues of course like family, a home, your health and achieving success in your chosen field. Maybe you were still searching for your purpose in life, dreamt of taking a year off to travel or starting your own business.

Chances are your life has changed a bit over the past decade. You’ve won some and lost some at the game of goal achievement and in the process you’ve learned a few things.

The question is, have your priorities kept pace with your growth?

If it’s been awhile since you’ve thought about your priorities beyond the daily task list, or you’ve fallen into the habit of responding to whatever demands your attention the loudest, maybe it’s time to give some thought to how your choices are affecting your life and future.

When you’re clear about your priorities, it’s easier to make decisions and to remove whatever no longer support you, whether it’s clutter in your closet or commitments on your calendar. ~Author Unknown

The Benefits of Setting Priorities

Priorities are the level of importance given to the actions that you take and how you invest your time and energy. When combined with a little thoughtful planning, they also serve as the foundation for goals and help you to make decisions that will keep you on track to create your best life.

The also …

  • Improve focus.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Ensure consistent growth and progress.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, many people end up burdened with so many commitments and shoulds they are reluctant to admit – even to themselves – what they really want from life for fear that it will only lead to disappointment.

You always do what you want to do. This is true with every act. You may say that you had to do something, or that you were forced to, but actually, whatever you do, you do by choice. Only you have the power to choose for yourself. ~W. Clement Stone

Exploring the Complex Nature of Priorities

Let’s be honest, no matter how honorable our intentions, when it comes down to the actions we take and the choices we make, most of us have one clear priority—get through the day.

Our task lists often end up filled with obligations, unexpected interruptions, and activities that relieve us of guilt or simply sound good but ultimately have little to do with our true priorities.

Or do they?

It’s a condition of human nature that we blame the lack of time (other people or circumstances) for our inability to make progress on our goals and priorities.

The truth is, if you haven’t taken the time to start that exercise program, explored ways to get your degree, or taken the first step to making home ownership a reality, either it isn’t really a priority or there’s something else going on.

  • It could be that somewhere along the line you convinced yourself (or others told you) that you should be more ambitious in life, but the truth is you really enjoy doing the things you are already doing.
  • Maybe you have unresolved internal beliefs that have prevented you from moving forward. You’ll never know or be able to correct the situation unless you make it a priority to face and remove them.
  • Or maybe you need to define new, more meaningful priorities that reflect your values and real dreams rather than what looks good on a goal list or sounds impressive to family and friends.

After taking a hard look at how he was investing his time, a former client shared with me that he suddenly realized he’d been keeping himself busy with a lot of small (safe) goals that looked impressive and gave the illusion of progress … but never actually contributed to the quality of his life.

Quite an eye-opener, and one that helped him rethink many of the choices he’d been making.

If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend a LOT of time dealing with a life you don’t want. ~Kevin Ngo

I appreciate that I may be leaving you with more questions than answers, but that’s actually the point. You are the only one who knows the truth behind the choices you are making each day and whether or not you are settling for less than you deserve or desire.

Never underestimate this process. It takes courage to admit what you want from life, and especially to be honest about how hard you’re willing to work to make it your reality. To help you in this process I’ve provided links below to three articles that focus on identifying and committing to priorities.

Whatever your truth may be, choosing to invest your precious time on the things that matter most to you is the ultimate act of self-care!

Related reading …
Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita A. Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click here.


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26 Reader Comments

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  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us RoseMary!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you found value in the post Lesly. It does seem to be a year of change for many of us. No doubt in my mind you’ll find the path you are seeking. 🙂

  3. Good for you Doreen! I hope you enjoyed your getaway – I know you work hard and I for one truly enjoy the wonderful stories and experiences you share with your audience! 🙂

  4. You are SO, SO right, Marty! and the NGO quote is spot on. I admit that my daily choices either reflect my true priorities or the priorities I have in that moment. Sometimes I’m proud of the way my day turned out and satisfied and other days I think: ut oh, did that really match my goals and the most important things?
    It is absolutely a daily choice.

  5. Lesly Federici

    Decisions and priorities, two areas I have been contemplating recently. Some things need to change and sorting them out. Your post is helping me to reflect towards decision …
    Lesly Federici recently posted…Catch Yourself When Your Mind is SpiralingMy Profile

  6. Thans for this post on setting priorities, Marty. Very appropriate for me at the moment. As here I am, on a Saturday night, writing my blog post and reading the posts of yours and other blogs I love sop that I can getaway for a brief research trip on Monday. My life is definitely all about setting priorities and making the best use of my time.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…my salute to Canada 150My Profile

  7. So true Ravi, which is the point of the post. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

  8. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Sonal – always appreciated. 🙂

  9. Well said! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. 🙂

  10. Ha! Well, you certainly aren’t alone Mandy. I’m sure a lot of people don’t remember past goals, busy lives will do that. Many others only set goals because everyone else is and they never actually commit to anything. That’s a pretty common pattern I’m afraid. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

  11. Ravi Chahar

    Hey Marquita,

    There is no shame to confess that I don’t have the same priorities as I had a few years back.

    Whether it’s about my life or the work, everything keeps changing with the time.

    But I realized it that it’s important to set some priorities to have a focused life.

    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Enjoy your day.

    Ravi Chahar recently posted…Get More LinkedIn Endorsements With These 11 Proven TipsMy Profile

  12. Sonal Talwar

    Hi Marquita

    Our priorities change with time. But we should always take time out sit relax and assess our priorities. It is very important to find out whether we have set the right priorities or we are following a wrong path.

    Thanks for the wonderful post!
    Sonal Talwar recently posted…The Selection of Best 20 Health and Beauty WordPress ThemesMy Profile

  13. Very true. We can achieve our goals only if we put a step forward. Priorities help us to clear the so called obstacles in the path leading towards success. No amount of inspirational quotes, positive thinking can help unless we apply them in real and mould our lives the way we want.

  14. Mandy Allen says:

    Hi Marquita, great points you make here. I can’t even remember if I had goals 10 years ago let alone what they were!

    Now I find as my age moves further forwards I think a lot about the future and at might be doing now to get things ready for my older age.

    Enjoy the journey!
    Mandy Allen recently posted…Take A Look Inside Outsource Explosion HereMy Profile

  15. There is no question that it’s challenging to achieve “balance” when pursuing an important goal. That said, here are a couple of things I’d like you to think about Rosary. Have you taken the time to define your “success”? At what point will you be able to say, “I achieved my goal”? What will you do when you reach that point? Is that when you will begin living the rest of your life? I’m not implying that you back off of your goal, just that you might want to consider clarifying your vision for the future. Thanks so much for sharing with us!

  16. Rosary says:

    For the past couple of years my number one priority has been career advancement, I kept looking for opportunities to move up the career ladder. So much so that without realising, everything else kinda took a back seat (including finding a potential life partner!) and before I knew it, my friends are getting engaged and married while I’ve stayed single for a good few years now. I know that priorities should also be balanced but when I focus on one thing I find it challenging to think about anything else until I achieve that goal/priority. Thanks for sharing this post and I’m looking forward to your next post Marquita!

  17. I am a firm believer in the “bigger / scarier” approach to life and try to push myself to learn at least one new thing every day. I recently saw an interview with Tim Ferriss where he shared that he always sets small, easily achievable goals because the wins keep him motivated. I get the motivation part, but having followed Tim since his first book there’s no doubt in my mind that those “small goals” all lead in a direction that is meant to achieve bigger things. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us Emily. 🙂

  18. Well said Phoenicia! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  19. Well said Marvin. If I had to point out the one best piece of advice I’ve ever received it would clearly be “Don’t ever be afraid to ask!” Seems so simple, and yet so many people avoid asking for what they want in life. The answer may not always be yes, but it will always be no if you never ask. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us. 🙂

  20. Hey Chery! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and I hope the exercise is worthwhile for you. 🙂

  21. Beautifully said, Donna! When we have clear, meaningful priorities it is much easier to push through life’s unexpected detours to get back on track …. that’s what it’s all about. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing, always appreciate your insightful comments. 🙂

  22. Emily

    I think I am like your former client who focuses on small and safe goals. Setting bigger and scarier goals will help me progress towards a life I actually really want. Thanks for the eye-opening article.
    Emily recently posted…Lesser Known Inspirational Quotes to Live ByMy Profile

  23. Phoenicia

    Excellent post Marquita.

    Our priorities change over time. We need to take time out to assess the road we are on and whether we stay put or change course. Interesting that you mention we do what we want to do and make excuses for actions we do not wish to take. If it is a priority then we make time for it.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Resist the urge of “doing it all”!My Profile

  24. I really like your topics. This one is again, right on target. I remember a line from some chick flick: the girl asks the psychiatrist what one piece of advice could he give that would apply to everyone. He said, “Find out what you want and how to ask for it.” Great stuff is everywhere : )

  25. Chery Schmidt

    Hello Marty! Awesome post as always my friend! I do believe it is time I sit down and give some thought to my priorities right now..

    Thanks Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…Love What You Do And Do What You LoveMy Profile

  26. Donna Merrill

    Hi Marquita,

    As I grow and my business does too, I do give attention to my priorities. As soon as I think I have it all under control..there is something else that comes into my life.

    No problem as long as we have the flexibility and the understanding that things do change….and sometimes a lot.

    I go along following my schedule and bam..an illness with my dog that has to take all my time…or even a bump in business where I have to devote more time to clients and my blog is a day late.

    As long as I can remember life is change and I have to go with the flow, my priorities can change too.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…Put Your Blogging Brand In Front Of A New CrowdMy Profile

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