You know that feeling when you open a book and read something, and it’s exactly what you needed to hear? I love when that happens, and it reminds me of something I’ve been trying to learn and live by: the Universe has your back, and there is so much energy in the world working towards bringing you what you ask for. A couple years ago, this would have sounded way too new-age for my liking, but as I’ve opened up to this spiritual journey, it’s become clearer to me each day.
Recently I have been feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and like I’m not spending my time doing the things that are most important to me. When I spent a few minutes reading a chapter from ‘The Art of Practical Spirituality’, I learned why. The book asks you to “write down the goals you want to accomplish in each department of your life [places like career, health, relationships, etc.]. Then, drawing from your entire list, rank your goals from the most important to the least important. Next, ask yourself how much time you spend on your top three goals.” Simple, right? It’s something I do all the time. But then the book goes deeper and asks you how much time you spend on those goals. Uh, oh, I said to myself. Not a whole lot.
For me, at this particular moment in time, the three goals that are most important to me are:
- Health: getting my body back to where it was before two orthopedic surgeries, by investing in at least an hour a day at the gym, doing running, yoga, and weights. And getting massages and meditating. #selfcare
- Coaching: getting ready for the International Coach Federation certification process, so I can complete it by the end of summer, which means doing lots of hours of coaching and tons of studying.
- Writing: spending time working on my novel and nonfiction/leadership book, as well as increasing my time spent on blogging and submitting articles across the web.
Now, while I’ve hired a personal trainer, have 4 hours of coaching class each week and a couple of clients, and have a list of articles I want to write – am I actually spending enough time on each of these goals, given how important they are to me? Absolutely not! So, I must ask myself: what needs to go?
As someone who talks about leadership, balance, prioritization, and goal-setting often, I have to consistently remind myself to practice what I preach. It’s hard, and it takes a lot of work, determination, and thoughtfulness to really move the needle on goals and priorities. Sometimes I’m great at it, sometimes I’m no good at all. For me, the reminder that came in this reading came at the exact right moment. And that allowed me to embrace what I read, do the reflection in the moment, and take action.
If you are at a place where you’re having a hard time reconciling your goals and how you actually spend your time, take a step back to consider your top priorities, across all areas of your life. Then, look at how you actually spend your time. If you spend three hours a night watching TV, when you really want to be writing a manuscript, you will probably have to give up some TV, and perhaps save it for one night per week. If you want to deepen your yoga practice, you’re going to need to find a studio and sign-up for classes in advance, even if it means waking up earlier or skipping out on happy hour with friends. Reaching our goals takes great intention, sacrifice, and hard work – yet when they are important to us, it makes it much easier to commit. Most importantly, goals and priorities change over time, so embrace that and create space to continuously re-evaluate what is most important to you, right now. And finally – when your gut tells you to open a book, read an article, or call a friend – do it. It just might be the Universe showing you exactly what you need in the moment.