Photo by Alexandra Hraskova
Let's face it; if we are not intentional about what our lives look like, we will end up answering to the most difficult things in our lives. While perhaps there once existed a more easily attainable balance, there certainly seems to be a void in this day and age (hello, smartphones, emails, and networking after hours). Burnout from our work, our responsibilities, and our growing expectations loom over us. Therefore, it is especially important to make sure we take stock of our lives and pursue what matters most to us.
The problem we face when pursuing what matters to us is the reality of determining what truly does matter to us. We often need to take a step back to take an inventory of our lives to prioritize what matters. Sometimes, the problem with prioritizing what is meaning-making to us is not knowing what that is in the first place. We are at the start of the new year and it is a great time to consider taking a life inventory to make sure you're on the right track.
There are a handful of reflections I practice when I feel my life becoming more demanding. I believe those of us who want to live meaningful lives consciously need to participate in frequent reflection. Keeping "the main thing" the "main thing" can keep us from overextending ourselves and pouring energy into what is right for our priorities.
01 | SIT WITH YOUR FEELINGS.
Often, I find that I know that my priorities are getting out of balance because of my own negative emotions. If something takes too much of my time, and I feel upset about it, I sit with myself to discover why. Likewise, if I am anxious about a project, I don't want to rush past these feelings. By carving time out to digest my emotions, I can evaluate what matters to me most.
02 | LEARN TO READ YOUR BODY AND KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES.
As an Enneagram-8, co-founder of a non-profit organization, social entrepreneur, I know how challenging it can be to listen to our bodies. I have suffered an enormous amount of fatigue and trauma because I didn't listen to my body. So, I make this a priority in my life. Here's the bottom line: if we don't take care of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health, it doesn't matter what we prioritize, we won't be able to get the job done. I learn to read my body so I may make informed decisions about what my capacities are when pursuing my priorities.
03 | LOOK AT WHAT FITS.
Some people can't seem to get out of their own way when it comes to defining success. We have to be honest with ourselves about our gifts and dreams, as well as our circumstances that are often beyond our control. Look at the current season of your journey and your goals to see what fits. This is why we do a life-inventory more than once in our lives: things are always changing! By being honest with ourselves, we can make a more significant impact and hone in on what matters most.
04 | IDENTIFY WHAT YOU LOVE AND WHAT YOU DON'T LOVE.
(Warning, this might be more challenging than it sounds!) Get away from expectations, roles that have been placed on you, and guilt. Dig deep into your heart. Be honest. What is it that you are really enjoying about your life? What is that brings you joy but don't really have time for? What is eating all your energy? What is taking from you and not giving back? Make a list on your phone, in your journal, or somewhere unique to you.
05 | IDENTIFY THE CHANGES YOU NEED TO MAKE.
After thinking through your current situation, needs, ebbs and flows, and clearly identifying what is adding value and what is stealing, the hardest part is changing. You didn't come this far only to come this far! You can make changes in your life to prioritize things that help you grow, give back, bring experience to your heart, and more. Find people to encourage you and surround you with accountability in this way.
Don't get overwhelmed when considering this life inventory. Remember, this is for you and your growth. If you see that you need to make several changes, start by making one change a month. If you feel that you're in a sweet spot, continue on that trajectory and check back in with yourself in a few months.
FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we feature powerful stories about global initiatives, innovation, community development, social impact, and more. You can read more stories like this and connect with a growing community of global leaders when you join.