I recently penned a piece about the importance of being selective. Because the reality is that we can’t do everything. Our time is limited. And trying to do everything only stops us from focusing on what matters most (to us). It overshadows it. One day might run into the next, and before we know it, a week has flown by. And yet we feel empty and unfulfilled. We feel aimless.
This might be because we’re unclear about what is actually significant to us. We might not know our priorities. Maybe we’ve been so busy focusing on the minutiae — checking off random tasks and chores — that we’ve neglected the bigger picture. Maybe we’ve been so busy following other people’s definitions of success and productivity and meaning that we’ve neglected to consider what feels true and right for us.
These questions can help you name what’s important to you and discover how you’d like to spend your days.
- What inspires you?
- What do you love about the morning? Afternoon? Evening?
- What do you find yourself daydreaming about?
- What do you wish you could take off your to-do list? (Is it really necessary? Maybe you can simply delete it. Or maybe you can delegate it by asking a loved one for help or hiring a professional.)
- What does your ideal day look like — from the moment you get up to the time you fall into bed?
- What does a good day look like?
- What have you always wanted to try but don’t because you think you’re too old? (You’re not.)
- What do you want to feel like when you go to bed?
- What do you want to feel like when you wake up?
- What are the top five things that are most important to you in this world?
- How do you define a “fulfilling life”?
- What would this look like day to day? Maybe during the course of a week?
- What matters least to you but find yourself doing every day anyway? This might be checking social media (before you know it, you’re down the rabbit hole). This might be a specific commitment.
- What do you need to genuinely relax?
- What are the activities that make you feel alive (invigorated, rejuvenated, energized)?
- What’s one thing you can add to every day that puts a smile on your face?
- What are your personal guidelines that you can use for saying yes to something?
- What are your guidelines for saying no?
- What do you love about your life right now?
Pick the questions that resonate with you, and respond to them in a journal. If you’re unsure of your answers, do some experimenting. Carry a small notebook with you, and jot down what catches your eye; what you like and don’t like; what surprises you; what you really want; what nourishes you deeply. Jot down your thoughts and feelings — how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking at different points of the day. See if you can spot any patterns that might reveal your priorities or any other key insights.
Give yourself permission and the opportunity to think about what’s important to you — and then give yourself permission and the opportunity to fill your days with those meaningful things.