This time of year is always a favorite around here, not just for the festivities and joy that always seem to accompany the holiday season but also for the precious extra time spent with family and friends, relaxing, catching up and just enjoying each others’ company.
The holidays offer a much-needed break from our regular routines, which in turn always bring a fresh, new perspective and the opportunity for reflection and realignment of values and priorities. I’m always reminded of what is most important to me because of all the positive feelings and happiness this time of year brings.
Values & Priorities
It’s far too easy to get off-track and caught up in this world of distraction and pressure. In an effort to try to ‘do it all’ or to please others or to ‘do the right thing’ or sometimes without even realizing, many of us add items to our daily workload that really aren’t in alignment with what we value. Moreover, we add without subtracting or adjusting to help keep our lives in a healthy balance, both physically and emotionally, at work and at home.
Have you ever had your nose so closely to the grindstone that when you finally look up you wonder, How on earth did I end up here?!
Since we can only do so much, it’s important that what we choose to do is aligned with what we truly value.
Reflection is a powerful tool. Taking time to think about what is and is not serving you well is the first step to designing and living your best life. That’s YOUR best life. Not the Jones’, not what your mother or me or some guru or anyone else thinks is best for you. If you take nothing else from this post, remember that your life does not have to be patterned in a certain way or resemble anyone else’s life.
Sometimes we think we want or need certain things like a particular job or car or house because it’s expected or it’s the ‘next step’ on the road to success. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of thinking that can lead us into a vicious cycle of unnecessary consumerism and debt and general unhappiness. Success can be measured in many ways but I believe it ultimately comes down not to how much stuff a person has, but to simply being happy.
In a previous article, I talked about living and spending in accordance with personal values and priorities. Spending is an important part of living here in North America. How we choose to spend our time and our hard-earned dollars has a direct impact on our quality of life and overall happiness. Reflecting on personal choices and making sure that our actions and spending of time and money is in alignment with personal values and priorities is, I believe, the key.
Reflect & Realign
Take some time this holiday season to really think about what you truly value: Education? Travel? Independence? Work? Family? Health? Examine what each one means to you and think about its current place in your life. Be honest with yourself and try not to think about what is ‘right’ or expected; just focus on what is important to you.
Reflect on those values and on your top priorities. How do they factor in to your life today? Do your current goals reflect what is truly important to you? Does your current routine reflect your highest priorities? If you value time with family but are spending all your time at work, then your actions and choices may not be in alignment with your values. Where might you need to make some adjustments?
Don’t stress if you feel your life is a little ‘out of whack’ and certainly don’t compare yourself to anyone else! Realigning your choices with your values and priorities may take some time depending on how long it’s been since you last reflected and how far off track you may have wandered. Simply identify what needs to be adjusted, make the changes you can now and then incorporate the rest into your list of goals for 2013.
“No matter how long you are traveling down the wrong road, when you figure it out, turn around.” ~ Turkish proverb
Holidays, breaks and vacations allow us to take a step back from our everyday projects and challenges, and to really see the big picture of our life. Enjoy this special time of year and make sure you are spending your time and money on the things that make you truly happy!