When there’s something that I want to get done or something that I want to accomplish, instead of ruminating on that dream and thinking about it all the time and wondering when I’m going to make time and how I’m going to get it done, I ask myself one important question:
Is this something I’m willing to make a priority in the immediate future or in the long-term future?
We all have a laundry list of fantastical things we want to do in our lives. For me, this list includes getting scuba certified and going on a diving trip. I absolutely want to do that and will absolutely do that at some point but for now, it is not a priority. That will be a priority in another year.
Those things that are priorities for another day are placed on my calendar for that other day. That means scuba certification will sit and politely wait for me on my calendar 12 months from now when I will revisit it again. For items that I am not willing to characterize as a priority, the conversation ends. I am not giving that “want” any more energy.
Many of us walk around with a bag of wants and to-dos like we are Santa Claus. A bag full of tricks and nothing to do with them! When the list of unrealized dreams and long-term goals continues to grow, that bag becomes incredibly heavy. The burden becomes more and more difficult to bear as we pile on more and more unsatisfied dreams and goals.
The more significant the burden, the easier it is for us to feel hopeless and disregard everything we have piled on.
It’s easier to stay put because we have created this mountain of to-dos that is overwhelming. It’s difficult to know where to start.
This pile-up of wants and dreams paralyzes us from taking ANY action. That is why the first step is unpacking that bag and getting rid of the pipedreams and saving them for a later date. For now, we stick to priorities.
“The first step to success is knowing your priorities.”Aspesh
It’s easy to want to go to the gym four times a week. It’s easy to want to start your own business and daydream about it all the time. It’s easy to dream about having a cleaner home. The hard part comes when actually sitting down and asking yourself how to accomplish it.
It’s easy to want to do things.
When we start getting really honest with ourselves about the bag of burdens that we carry, we then have to start being very honest with ourselves about everything on the list. At this point in time, we start taking off the pipe dreams and eliminating those from the burdens that we carry.
For example, I have this beautiful chandelier that I inherited from a quasi aunt figure who passed away several years ago. She was a wonderful human being and every time I see the light sparkle through that chandelier it warms my heart. It reminds me of her zest for life her warmth and her ability to light up an entire room with her laugh. She was a good person. She was vibrant and exciting and adventurous and I love having something in my home that makes me think of her. But as many of you may know, a year ago my significant other and I bought a house together. After the moving in and combining of households was settled, we still have not decided where we want to hang that chandelier. So it sits safely tucked away in a guest bedroom until I can decide exactly where I want to home it and exactly how I want to go about getting that done. This is on my To-Do List.
This is something that’s easy for me to carry around in my bag of burdens, telling myself it’s something I need to do. I
it’s easy to beat myself up and tell myself that this should be important.
That I should be making this a priority. That I need to get this done. None of those are true. They are just an easy opportunity for me to beat myself up and tell myself that I’m not doing enough. These are the types of things that we carry around in our bags of burdens that make us feel so miserable.
None of these things need to be done. None of these things are a priority at this time.
There may be a time in the future hanging that chandelier may become a huge priority for me and a joy to accomplish. But that time is not now. So why carry that burden and all those shoulds with me and allow it to compound everything else that is bouncing around inside my brain? It’s not useful!
For many of those pipe dreams, I often reserve spaces on my calendar six months in the future. This allows me to reevaluate my priorities and consider whether it is finally time for that to-do to become a number one action item. But for now, I will remove that from the bag of burdens and focus on what is actually important in the short term.
As we unpack that bag of burdens we have to get very clear on what is truly a priority and what is just simply garbage that we like to use to make ourselves feel terrible and tell us that we’re not accomplishing enough. We always have to be aware of the things we tell ourselves and how those thoughts make us feel. What often happens is those thoughts compound that feeling of hopelessness and our inability to overcome this task. So we do nothing.
So step number one is to start removing the pipe dreams from this bag of burdens so that we are left with are real priorities. Whatever that priority to-do list item may be, this is the part where we move out of the camp of humans carrying bags of burdens into the camp of humans who actually get things done.
Next week, we will learn how to take this list and turn it into a summary of your accomplishments. Cheers!