Life is full of hard decisions. From moving to accepting a new job offer to choosing a new pet, we’re always facing big choices. Each of us has a value system and unique life experiences that help to guide us.
Sometimes, however, we also need some clarity in figuring out our priorities before we can make key decisions. Here are five crucial questions to clarify your top priorities in life and make better decisions.
What Is The Hardest Question Facing You?
Take out five sheets of paper. On sheet one figure out the hardest question facing you and the easiest and write them down. Maybe your hardest question is whether to become a lawyer or not and your easiest question is what brand of jeans to buy. When you know the question you can begin searching for answers. So write down the main questions facing you from the most difficult to the easiest. Pick about ten questions or choices facing you. This list will be used to help you work out your priorities.¹
What Is Most Important To You In Your Life?
On sheet two write down the three most important things to you in your life. This could be: faith, family, country or “being happy, having a husband, eating healthily,” or even more specific like “my brother, my house, my dog.” This is your list and it can be your three most important things. It’s important to think about this one carefully and be honest. Treating it as a joke or just writing something you don’t really care about will only let yourself down.²
How Do I Want To Look Back On My Life?
On sheet three, write down how you want to look back on your life and how you want others to look back on your life when it’s almost over. This might sound a bit dramatic but it can be a real eye-opener. For example you might write “I want to have a large and loving family remember me with pride and gratitude” or “I want the whole world to remember the contributions I made to scientific progress” or “I want to know that I did everything for love” or “I want to know that I helped others no matter how hard it was.” Think long and hard about this one and write down one sentence of how you want to look back on your life.³
When Does This Need To Happen?
On page four write down a timeline. List the top three important questions facing you and then a timeline of when they need to be answered and acted upon. Do you have days, months, years? If it is up to you to decide a timeline then decide on a timeframe that gives you time but still pushes you a little bit so that you don’t become complacent and vegetate.¹
How Can I Put These Priorities Into Action?
Planning is necessary and useful, but when the rubber meets the road you need to find a way to make your priorities go from ideas to action. Here on sheet five is where you put everything together. List out your top three important decisions facing you, how long you have to do them, how you want to look back on your life and the three values that are most important to you in life. Then put a star next to each important decision that aligns with a core value and the way you want to look back on your life. The question which is most related to your core values and how you want to look back on life is your top priority. Now you know your top priorities and can do everything to go about acting on your top priority.²