We live in a fast paced age, and our lives can become chaotic jumbles of competing interests and priorities. It can be hard to keep track of what things are truly important to us.
People will talk about how this thing or that thing is their number one priority, and how they are working towards making it happen. We talk about wanting to lose weight, getting rid of debt or of finding a new job. Far too often, however, we don't follow through on the things we say are priorities, and things remain undone. Why is that, and are they truly priorities if they don't get followed through on?
Priorities Or Wishful Thinking?
J.D. over at GetRichSlowly.org had a recent post in which he had a tangential story about priorities, and how we should truly define what is a priority.
This reminds me of a conversation I had once with my cousin. I was complaining that fitness was one of my top priorities, but I couldn’t seem to get healthy. “That’s because fitness isn’t a priority for you, J.D.” Nick said.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Yes it is.”
“No, it’s not,” he said. “Your priorities are the things you do, not the things you say you’ll do.”
I argued at the time, but looking back, Nick was right. Saying that something is a priority doesn’t make it so. We demonstrate in our daily lives the things that actually matter to us. To quote Will Durant (not Aristotle): “We are what we repeatedly do.”
When we say something in our life is a priority, our actions should bear it out that it truly is a priority, and not just wishful thinking – or window dressing. Priorities are born out by the things we do – action.
For example, for a while now I've been saying that one of my priorities – like J.D., was fitness. After reading his post and the quote above, however, I was a bit convicted because my actions – and the things I do – haven't backed up my claim that fitness is one of my priorities. It's a secondary thing lately.
Priorities Are Shown By Our Actions
Our true priorities in life are shown by our actions. The things that we do and the actions that we take show what is truly important to us.
For me my actions would show my priorities lie with my blogs, my family and possibly in some other lesser areas. Things that I have said are priorities, but haven't actually become that yet include my fitness goals, and some of my financial goals. It's time to take action.
Following Through On The Things We Call Important
So for me the key is to examine your life and determine what things truly are your priorities, as opposed to the things that only sound good as priorities when someone else is asking. Find your true priorities and figure out how you can work towards making those things a reality.
Is your first priority to lose weight and get fit? Join a program to help you towards that goal.
Is your goal to get rid of all your consumer debt? Follow a program like Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps, and start actually paying off the debt.
Put your priorities to action – and make it truly a priority!