Setting Priorities and Making Changes
If you’ve used the first two self-evaluation tools, this part is the culmination and plan. The first tool helped you take a look at areas of health, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. You answered a series of questions under each area to give yourself a good look at where you are right now. The second tool considered areas of life, personal life, family life, social life, and work life, again using a series of questions to give you a glimpse of where you’re at now.
This next part is the culmination of the self-evaluation and has to do with making some choices and changes. First, though, throw out everything you know about making New Year’s resolutions. That’s not what this is. Notice that we did not complete this before the first of the year, because resolutions, for the most part and for most of us, do not work. If they do, you either have an iron will and extreme self-control, or your priorities align with your resolutions. We’re doing something different here. We are evaluating where we are to give us a starting place, and we’re considering what we want to do, rather than what we’ve been taught or told to do.
The way I set this up gives you a clear view of the present in these areas of health and life. Most processes would tell you something like, choose the area where you have the most 3’s (poor rating), and that’s the area you need to start with, but we’re not going to do that. We already know all the areas are important. We’re going to note how we’re doing in all of these areas, then we are going to choose areas we want to address right now.
Sometimes, that includes making some changes, and sometimes that means keeping things the same, because they’re working for you, and they’re still priorities. Resolutions fail, because we resolve to change things based on what other people tell us is or should be important, but just because others think something is important doesn’t mean that it should be our priority, especially in the beginning of reevaluating our life.
The area of health I slack off on the most is my physical health. Why? I hate exercising, and I like to eat based on what I want or have on hand at the time. It's not that I don't know it's important, I do. Who doesn't? I don’t eat a lot, I don’t eat three square meals a day, and I don’t exercise a minimum of five times a week for at least thirty minutes each time, walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, or add up points at mealtime to make sure I stay within someone else’s guidelines of what is acceptable. Those things don't work for me.
If that stuff or something else works for you, if you like your life and you have peace of mind or whatever else is most important to you, great, keep doing it, but stop trying to force yourself to do what someone else tells you to do, if it doesn’t work for you for whatever reason. By all means, take various kinds of information into consideration, but whether or not to follow through with someone else’s plans is up to you. Be well-informed, consider your priorities, then make a decision.
I love the Mediterranean diet the best of all the ones out there I’m familiar with, but I don’t like or want to cook anymore. I’ve tried buying the groceries to try out new recipes that look scrumptious, convincing (lying) to myself that I’ll make the effort, but I don’t follow through, and that makes me feel like I’ve failed. I end up throwing away what started out as those lovely leafy greens that have turned into some kind of black, unrecognizable mush in the crisper drawer, and just the other day, I threw out a bottle of olive oil that smelled rancid, probably because I’d had it for a number of years (we’re talking way past the expiration date here).
I know I should exercise more and eat healthy, and maybe someday I'll focus more on that. In the meantime, I do what I can, when I can. I try to walk more. I stretch. I usually limit soda or ice-cream or whatever I’m craving that I know isn’t good for me to the weekends, and I drink more water, because that works for me, and I think every little bit counts.
However, right now, I cannot commit to a regular, regimented exercise/eating plan, because I’m too busy, and I have too many other responsibilities going on right now to make it a priority. Just because someone else tells me it should be my priority doesn’t make it so. Thankfully, I’m in pretty good health, so nothing is crucial that has to be addressed right this minute. It’s still on my mind, but it’s on the back burner.
Look, I know all about preventative care, taking steps now to save you later, etc., and those are all valid ideas, but I just cannot prioritize those things right now, so I’m not going to try. My spiritual health is very good, probably because it is a priority, and I will continue to prioritize it. I’ve committed to continue to meditate regularly and evaluate my mental/emotional health daily. If I’m not stable or I feel off, I practice self-care.
It’s not that I’ve forgotten about the other areas of my health, but I’ve found that when I prioritize my spiritual health, it improves the other areas automatically. I’m sure that could be said about all areas of health, as they’re so intertwined, but meditating does more for me than exercising, at least at this time. When I’m in a good place spiritually, I more easily find motivation to address the other areas of my health, also.
I know losing weight and exercising more is needed, and I hope I’ll eventually get to them, but for now, spiritual health is my priority. I don’t apologize for it. I don’t choose to prioritize it, just because it’s easier than exercise and diet regimens. I focus on it, because it’s what’s most important to me at this time. This is my life, and I get to choose my priorities.
Taking a look at the areas of my life, my personal life is my priority. It ties in well with my spiritual health, because I’m learning to put myself first, to make myself the priority, so I have the drive and stamina to help others, too, which is my second priority. My family life is stable, I’m retired, so the only work life I have is what I decide to make it (thank you, God!), and my social life is the least of my concerns.
I see my mother-in-law a couple times a week, because I love her, and I help her as needed, I have girls’ lunch with the same group of ladies I’ve met once a month for the last twenty years, and I make it a point to talk to my friend and business partner at least once a week. I answer emails and questions for the Angels, I write and share their and my messages, and that’s the extent of my life areas, because that’s the way I want it.
People have tried to tell me I should date, but I don’t want to. I like being on my own, so why should I try to find a life partner? I see my kids and grandkids as often as I can, I have a few very close friends, and I have a lot of alone time. Why? Because that’s the way I like it. My life is rich. I have peace of mind. I have purpose, and I have joy, peace, and love every day, and those things are what are important. To me.
So, as I reviewed the first two self-evaluation tools, the priorities I’ve set include staying spiritually healthy and maintaining my peace of mind, whatever that takes. The way I’m going to ensure that is to evaluate my spirit daily. When I need guidance and clarity, I’ll meditate and/or channel. I’ll continue helping where I can, because it’s not only important to me to help others, but because in doing so, it helps me and my spirit, too. I’m going to continue to write and channel most days, because that also feeds my spirit, helps me, and helps others.
When I can, I’ll do something physically and mentally helpful like stretching or parking further from the entrance to a store, or walking around the block. Housework counts as activity as far as I’m concerned, because it really does burn calories and my back always hurts afterwards (no pain, no gain, right?), and I can kill two birds with one stone. (As much as I’d like to follow the advice on the magnet on my fridge about counting running mascara as exercise, I don’t do that! (Hell, these days, I rarely put on makeup, anyway.)
I’ll limit my dirty little pleasures, like Coca-Cola (it’s the real thing) and Baskin Robbins’s baseball nut ice-cream to the weekends. If I’m having a really crappy day, and a Coke sounds like just what the doctor ordered, I’ll probably have one if I decide it’s worth the splurge (dare I count it as a better alternative to a glass of wine or a bottle of whiskey?). It’s not a failure, it’s being aware of my needs, priorities and overall peace of mind. I won’t make it a habit, and I’ll try to wait for the weekend, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it if I cave.
If I may be so bold, consider using the first two tools I posted over the last couple weeks to evaluate where you currently are regarding your health and areas of life. Review the results. Then, review your priorities. Are they the same? Are you happy? Do you have peace of mind? Joy, hope, and love? If not, what are you willing to change based on your identified priorities?
Don’t make a list a mile long based on what other people tell you you should do or how your life should look. Have an honest talk with yourself, and pin down what’s most important to you. Then, make sure you’re supporting yourself in those areas. When it’s your true priority, doing the stuff required to make it work isn’t such a hassle.
Best of luck, and blessings, all.