There are only a certain number of hours in a day.
And there are only a certain number of days in a week, weeks in a month, and months in a year.
Much as we might wish we could make time stand still, it keeps relentlessly ticking on by.
That means we need to make conscious decisions about how we spend the time we have.
Many of us like to think that we can fit a quart into a pint pot, as my mother always says, and squeeze absolutely everything in.
But, at the end of the day, we all have to make choices about what to prioritize in life.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably at a point in life when you’ve finally realized that time is a limited and precious commodity…
…and you’re not sure exactly what should come top of your list.
Everyone’s priorities will be slightly different. But if you’re not entirely sure where to begin, you might find these suggestions helpful.
Read through them and pick the ones that are most important to you.
Then, as you move forward, try to ask yourself whether the choices you’re making really reflect these priorities.
You might be surprised at how often the answer is no.
This might be a cliché, but family really should come first.
But that’s not to say that this is necessarily going to be your biological family. There are families of all shapes and sizes, and they’re all just as important as each other.
The people that you consider to be your family should be a major priority in your life, always.
The memories you make with them will be the things you treasure over everything else.
Stand by them when things get tough.
Some people view their closest friends as their family unit. But even if you’re lucky enough to have a strong family, your good friendships should be just as important to you.
We tend to expect friendships to be able to fend for themselves, but if we want them to thrive, we should put almost as much energy into them as we do our romantic relationships.
Friends are the people that we learn from, laugh with, and turn to for support and advice when things get tough.
Without them, life would be an awful lot poorer.
But it’s all too easy to drift apart, hence the need to actively prioritize friendship maintenance.
No man or woman is an island.
As well as friends and family, we need to feel like we’re part of something.
We need to build relationships within communities.
This might be local communities, based around location or a shared interest. But these days, we can also cultivate wonderful, supportive digital communities.
Essentially, although I’ve divided them into three, it is relationships with our fellow human beings that we should be prioritizing.
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Important as relationships are, none of that is going to matter if you aren’t healthy in mind and in body.
You need to prioritize your own health. Without it, you’ll have nothing at all.
Listen to your body and take note of the warning signs it gives you.
Give it the nourishment it needs and the respect it deserves.
Exercise, stretch, sleep, stimulate your mind, eat well, and remember, everything in moderation.
As well as your physical health, don’t forget to prioritize your mental and emotional health.
You can’t claim to be healthy if you’ve got the body of a swimsuit model but are emotionally unstable.
Money itself shouldn’t be a priority in life. But the reality of the way our society works means that we do need a certain amount of money in order to feel secure.
So, your finances do need to be somewhat of a priority as a means to attaining a level of security.
Just don’t let it become your sole focus.
You shouldn’t spend all your time working to provide for your family if that means you never have any time available to actually be with them.
Some of us crave security and stability more than others, but no matter how much you thrive off taking risks, or how risk-averse you are, you need a solid base in order to feel balanced and safe.
The moment we stand still is the moment we get into a rut, and a rut is never a good place to be.
I had this idea when I was a kid that once I finished school, I’d know everything I could ever need to know, and life would all be plain sailing from there on out.
But, when we reach adulthood, we realize that that couldn’t be further from the truth.
It turns out that nothing could be more boring than never learning anything new.
Although we might not have to face any more standardized exams, we need the stimulation of new information.
Our opinions, views, and bank of knowledge should constantly be growing and evolving.
If ever you’re feeling bored with life, you’re probably in need of a new mental challenge.
Consider how you can develop new skills or start to learn new things, whether self-taught or through a structured course.
Make it a priority to constantly be learning something new, whatever form that takes, and life will never be boring.
We weren’t put on this earth to suffer.
In fact, I’m pretty sure we’ve all ended up here as the result of some incredible fluke, and that there’s no grand plan.
So, make enjoying every day a priority.
Sure, there will be times when you work incredibly hard, and times when you’re low, but try to see the beauty in every day, and don’t take life too seriously.
Forget about the material and focus on doing the things you enjoy with the people you love around you.
Make memories that make you laugh whenever you think of them. Don’t feel that you need to act like a grown-up all the time.
Don’t forget to dream, and try to turn some of those dreams into a reality.
Smile, laugh, and, whilst being aware of all the problems in the world and doing your bit to help solve them, don’t forget to focus on all the wonder.
It might seem like seven is too many priorities to have in life, but the truth is that all these complement one another beautifully.
They all feed into your holistic health and happiness and that of the people that are most important to you.
Grab life with both hands, keep moving forward, and love the people around you hard.
Do these things and you can’t go too far wrong.