Sometimes, figuring out what really matters in life is the easy part. Survival, love, relationships, safety and security, feeling valuable, and living a meaningful life are things that matter to all of us. The hard part staying focused on the things that really matter in your life.
“I recently had back surgery,” says Sherry in my She Blossoms Facebook Group. “I’m fine, but I have to be ‘still.” This is very hard for me to do anytime of the year, but it’s especially difficult at Christmas! I usually organize everything, but I’m so limited on movement. I’m worried this may be a very dull, blah Christmas. I hope to focus more on what really matters and not the formalities (gifts, food, decorations). I’m not quite sure how to do it though. How do you focus on what really matters?”
That is an awesome question: “How do you focus on what matters in life?” Notice how she didn’t ask what matters, because she already knows what matters to her. And, she knows that the tricky part is staying focused on that, instead of getting distracted by busywork and trivial concerns that trip us up.
What really matters in your life? I’d love to hear the most important things to you — feel free to share in the comments section below. Maybe it’s your children, work, hobby, or marriage. Maybe your dog or cat matters most…or maybe it’s your relationship with God. Or maybe it’s you! Maybe you matter more to you than anything else in the world.
If you’re struggling to figure out what really matters to you, read 6 Practical Ways to Find God’s Call on Your Life.
3 Tips for Focusing on What Matters in Life
I’m getting better at learning how to focus on what really matters because I have a book deadline. I have less than four months to write a book about Blossoming after loss, and I’m feeling the pinch. I have no doubt I’ll finish the book — but will it be good enough? Publication-worthy? Helpful, meaningful? Will it really matter to people?
So, my tips for focusing on what really matters aren’t just inspired by my She Blossoms reader…they’re coming from my own struggle to stay focused on the most important activity in my life right now. Besides God.
1. Choose the 3 things that matter most in your life
Lots of things matter to you, right? Since you can’t focus on all of them, you have to pick the top three priorities in your life. Quick: what are the three things that matter most to you right now, in this season of your life? Try not to overthink this. Just go with what’s right in front of you.
If you’re recovering from surgery or an illness, for example, then one of your priorities is healing. You need to give yourself time to rest so you don’t set yourself back or sabotage your recovery process. Or, perhaps you’re looking for a job or getting close to finishing your college degree. Maybe you’re rebuilding after a divorce or rethinking your life purpose after a breakup.
2. Specifically plan how you will focus on what matters
You’ll need to get rest, eat healthy food, and pay attention to your progress if you’re healing from surgery. You’ll do the exercises the physiotherapist or doctor prescribed, and you’ll be still if that’s what’s required. Now, get even more specific than that! When will you rest, eat healthy food, and do the exercises? Who will help you? Where will you do these things?
Make specific plans for each thing that matters most in your life right now. If a family celebration is approaching, consider what you need to do to encourage connection, discussion, relationships, and time together. You don’t need a special recipe, specific activities, or the exact right clothes, dishes, furniture, or surroundings. But you do need people you love, because ultimately that’s all that really matters in your life.
3. Pay attention to the distractions
Here’s the hardest step: develop self-awareness and self-discipline. Learn how to recognize when you’re getting distracted from your priorities, and how to stay focused on what matters. Sometimes other people’s expectations and plans get in the way; other times, it’s your own short attention span. Sometimes it’s exhaustion because you didn’t get enough sleep, or spiritual emptiness because you’re not spending enough time with Jesus.
What is distracting you from what really matters in your life? Look at my example of writing my She Blossoms book. It doesn’t really matter if I write another She Blossoms ebook or create a She Blossoms calendar for my readers — even though I yearn to do those things! Not only are those activities not in my list of top three priorities right now, they’ll actually steal time from what really matters in my life right now.
If you’re a struggling student in school, read How to Study When You Can’t Focus – for College Students.
It took me awhile to figure out what I get distracted by, and how that affects what matters to me. It took me awhile longer to successfully deal with those distractions. Once I got my self-awareness and self-discipline squared away, I found it much easier to stay on the right track.
Questions for You:
- What are the three most important things that matter most in this season of your life?
- In what specific ways will you focus on those activities or people? What is your plan?
- How will you notice and deal with the distractions?
Your big and little thoughts are welcome below, as always!
If you’re struggling with a big life change, read 3 Tips for Transitioning to a New Stage of Life.