Staying True to Priorities

BURNING QUESTION #1 – “How can I keep from losing sight of my priorities with so many competing noises?”

There are so many answers to this question, depending on what “noises” in particular that you are dealing with in your life… but I’ve coached others through this, and have had personal experience in successfully staying focused on my priorities. I’ll answer by offering you three specific tips on how to handle competing noises that have worked for countless clients.

Tip #1:  Write your priorities down and put them in a number of places where you will see them every day.

One of my “star” clients who has applied this, Cathy, (I’ve changed her name for privacy reasons) has one large whiteboard in her office that lists what she wants to achieve in her personal life, and in her professional life, this year. She looks at it every day, and reaffirms to herself why it’s important to her. She has told me this specific tip that I shared with her is what keeps her on track daily. Her mission is tremendously important.

Another client of mine, Michelle (name changed again), has taken my tip and made it mobile friendly.  She has an image on the lock screen of her phone that reminds her of one of her biggest goals for the year.

Finally, on a personal note, one of the steps I use is to have a vision board full of magazine clippings in my exercise room that illustrates what an “extraordinary life” looks like for me this year. When I exercise, or when I walk past the room (if I’ve gone to yoga or for a walk that day), I look at my vision board. While I’m sweating out the chaos, I’m taking in the “extraordinary” in my mind’s eye.

I also have a daily to-do list sitting on the notepad by the phone in my office, or in the “Notes” section of my phone (if I’m going to be on the go that day). I have a bulletin board hanging above the toilet in my bathroom with dream images pinned to it. You get the picture? Everywhere I go, I bombard myself with reminders of the extraordinary life I’m committed to creating, and my next action steps.


Tip #2:  Set up a support system of peeps.

Start by saying out loud what your commitments and priorities are. I was visiting and staying with my girlfriend for a few days and I shared with her at the start of my visit, “Okay, I need to say this out loud: I’m going on a clean diet streak for the next ten days. I need to break some bad habits.” (I didn’t share this with my partner because I wasn’t going to be with him. I had to share it with someone who I would feel accountable to keep my word with.) Consider finding an accountability buddy or a mastermind group. You need to choose people and structures that you believe will actually keep you on track.


Tip #3:  Start saying no – or counter offering.

Most likely you’ve heard this before, but what would it take for you to actually do it? If a friend asks you for coffee, and you are prioritizing your health, offer to meet her for a walk or invite her to your exercise class. If your child needs help with her/his homework, and you are prioritizing your own professional development, suggest that s/he seek help from another parent or sibling or Google for half the time that you would have normally given and offer to help for the other half of the block of time. If you normally wash the floor every day or every Sunday, let it go for a bit longer so that you can prioritize your fun. Any chunk of time that you devote to your priorities is valuable, even if it seems small.  

What I’ve found in my own life in the last ten years, was that I had to first and foremost, create clarity on what my priorities are… based on my mission, passions, and dreams. Once I figured this out, then regardless of the circumstances I was facing, I was still driven to take action and move forward… even if it was just a tiny step on a given day.

Another key piece for me has been to put structures and systems in place to keep me on track, and to continually alter and improve my systems and structures. I go into detail with the specifics of how you can do this easily in my Powerful Purpose and Passion program … it’s going to be released really soon! In the meantime, and because helping you get started right away is really important to me, think about simple ways you can create a POSITIVE environment around you… an environment that is so strong that it withstands all negative forces that push against it. What could that look like for you?

I’m not a believer in the concept of “balance,” but I am a believer that we can commit to enhancing our fulfillment in all areas of our lives. Sometimes this looks like setting boundaries, saying “no” more, and shifting our habits to put ourselves first and “up” our own fulfillment in these areas of life. Below in the comments section, let me know which tip you like the most and how you’re personally going to implement it for yourself, okay?


To living an extraordinary life,

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