Goals, goals, goals. I am very good at setting goals. My To-DO list used to be so long that it looks like the old Sears Christmas Catalog. Filled with tons of things I really, really wanted to do, but never seemed to get to.
My To-Do list had lists of its own. Some items had been there for years. After awhile, my to-do list became more of a “Things I might just get around to someday” list than anything I actually felt I might complete.
I was overwhelmed. I needed a new system.
I created a simple system that works for me.
My system is a question. Every time I sit down and answer it, my goals and priorities get crystal clear.
The One Single Question:
What is it going to take for me to feel content and happy right now?
What I have discovered, is that on different days…months…even years, this answer changes. I have discovered that the question needs to be asked frequently and with care. If I don’t revisit the question with vigilant focus, I find myself reacting to past priorities that no longer fit. I may be in a habit of doing something that no longer works for me. I may be living unconsciously, or by a list of priorities that actually belong to someone else and not me.
I ask this question in both business and my personal life and compare notes. Some months, the thing that gets me revved up is a spell of creative writing, or a particularly successful business month knowing we made a difference in our clients’ lives. However, I know that no amount of business success will ever make me feel complete if my house is a mess and my family is being ignored, so I need to temper my business ambitions with my personal life.
Today, like I usually do, I asked the question to myself over coffee and journal time. The answer was a clear and resounding, “Enjoy a relaxed and serene evening with my family.” So what needs to change on my priority list for that to happen?
I take out my list of things I would like to get done, and write my new priority right at the top. Then, what are the things that need to occur for that top priority to be met. They are listed in order. Everything else that falls out of alignment with that number one goal are re-arranged, put on the back burner or looked at with a practical eye to see how else that task can get accomplished.
My mother has always said, “We can have anything we want in this life, we just can’t have it all at once.”
As much as we love to approach life like a kid at the candy store, double-fisted and grabbing all the candy we can, the best way to happiness and contentment is to make sure we are filling the MOST IMPORTANT needs right now. We need to be practical and we need to be honest with ourselves.
What is it going to take for you to feel content and happy right now?
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