Have you ever asked yourself, “Is this all there is to life?” If you have, then it’s time to stop being on auto-pilot and start focusing on what really matters to you!
Umm, so what does matter to you? And how do you align your life with what’s important? It can be hard to figure out what matters, when the world is constantly telling you what it wants. Your inner voice is told to become silent, as you try to fit in and meet everyone else’s expectations.
Does that sound like you? Because that’s how I felt. I stopped asking for what I wanted. I told myself that I wouldn’t get it anyways. But I was unhappy. That’s when I realized that I needed to stop listening to everyone else and start focusing on what mattered to me. It has taken some time to get there, but it’s definitely been worth it.
So, how did I do it? By asking myself the following 10 questions, so that I can focus on what matters the most to me.
Question #1: Is this adding value to my life?
This question will really help you to understand your actions. Are you doing something because you’ve always done it that way or because you feel obligated to do it? You are allowed to say no. Instead, focus on what adds value. Finally, recognize that what you value will change over time, so keep asking yourself this question.
Question #2: Have I practiced self-care today?
I often put the needs of others before my own. I think most woman do that – whether it was something we were taught or because it was a subtle message in our culture. But it’s important that you take care of yourself. Self-care can look like many things. It includes exercising, eating healthy, getting enough sleep. Ironically, I have learned that when I feel better, I’m able to take better care of the people in my life.
Question #3: What do I want?
No, you can’t always have everything you want and things won’t always go the way you wished they would. But it’s important to know what you want and take action to getting it. Even if it’s only a few minutes a day. Over the long run, that will add up to a life where you feel satisfied!
Question #4: What am I grateful for today?
By focusing on what you have, you turn the focus away from what you don’t have. Being grateful has many benefits, including being more optimistic, increased happiness and improved physical and mental health. Practicing gratitude can be as simple as writing down three things that you are grateful for each day.
Question #5: What does my first instinct tell me?
When you are asked to do something or presented with an opportunity, what’s your first instinct? Does your heart immediately say yes or does it say no? Pay attention to how your body feels. If your energy levels drop, stress starts to fill your body or your muscles tighten – they are all signs of your heart saying no. Listen to these signs. You are allowed to say no. Finally, saying no allows you to say yes to the opportunities that are actually exciting and valuable to you!
Question #6: What lesson did I learn?
Have you ever obsessed about past regrets or mistakes? It’s natural, but not helpful when you can’t stop thinking about the past. The best way to move on is to ask yourself “What lesson did I learn?”. It’s also the best way to grow and develop as a person.
Question #7: Who can I ask for help?
It’s important to recognize that we can’t do everything on our own. Everyone needs a little help once in a while. Help can take on many different forms – completing a task, solving a problem or even asking for some advice. So, who can you ask for help? Think about your family, friends, neighbours, co-workers or even an expert. Finally, remember to tell the person how much you appreciate their help.
Question #8: Where are my biggest time sinks?
For me, social media and games on my iPad are some of the things that take up my time. Unfortunately, they often take up too much time, without giving me anything positive in return. So, I’ve learned to put in strategies to limit these things. In turn, I can now focus on what matters – like self-care, time with my family or an important project.
Question #9: What am I avoiding?
Sometimes you don’t want to do something, but it does need to be done. Like taking charge of your finances or going to the doctor. Start with baby steps and dedicate a little bit of time each week or month to deal with the things you are avoiding. Also, take the time to try to understand why you are avoiding it, for example out of fear or shame, and how you can deal with those obstacles or fears.
Question #10: Who have I been thinking of?
It’s important to take time to connect to the people who are important to us. Give them a call, send a text or even plan a get together or a dinner. Humans are social creatures and we need connection in order to thrive. If you’re an introvert, like me, aim for more meaningful connections over quantity. It takes effort, but it really is necessary.
Which of the above question(s) helped you the most?
Until my next blog post, here’s wishing you lots of joy and happiness!