LifeMental HealthPsychology

Do we prioritize too much?

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Priorities have been a focus since the beginning of existence. Let us be honest, even if we are not putting forth conscious effort in defining priorities, our subconscious is doing a lot of work on prioritizing for us.

For example, let’s say we are asked by two separate individuals to go out and do something together on the same day, at the same time. The scenario you face does not allow you to invest time with both at the same time, and those are the only times available for both sides. Now you must decide, which individual is a bigger priority for you to spend time with?

Let us throw in an extra set of variables, first let’s say one of these individuals has been your best friend for several years, and the other individual is someone you have had the desire to date for several months.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, it does not matter if you are male or female, you’re significantly more likely to choose the individual that you have wanted to date for several months over your best friend from the last several years. This is one area that men and women alike, are equally guilty of, and I get it, maybe you believe you wouldn’t do that to your friend, but you are probably a rare exception to the rule.

Understanding, Managing & Maintaining Priorities

“The fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important. A thing that is regarded as more important than another.” – Oxford Languages

Priorities have been used and determined for generations, upon generations. As stated previously our subconscious uses prioritizing without us even knowing that it is doing it. When you choose between the two people in the previous example and go with the emotional response as to who you decide to spend time with, you are choosing the subconscious priority that has been set. Your subconscious priorities can depend primarily upon what you expose yourself to, and what types of thoughts or statements you make, whether they are positive or negative.

The Power of the Subconscious Mind

In his book “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind: Unlock Your Master Key to Success”, author Dr. Joseph Murphy, states that the subconscious mind is always at work, and that we can harness its power. When you realize the power that you have in programming your subconscious mind with how you think, whether you perform positive thinking, or negative thinking you can play a huge part in defining the likelihood to succeed in accomplishing your dreams. In choosing to be happy you will have fewer negative thoughts, in putting forth an effort in having a positive attitude you will be able to think clearer and be less likely to slip into a dark state emotionally.

To live a positive lifestyle, you must choose to believe in something in order to make it your reality and give it a positive support in the statements you make, the thoughts you allow to occupy your conscious mind, and the content, people, and other variables you allow yourself to be exposed to. Your subconscious mind is going to build off the foundation of your conscious mind. If you consciously are miserable, your subconscious is miserable. Furthermore, it is important to get appropriate amounts of sleep because when you sleep is when your subconscious is able to work the best. Further, using methods to visualize the positivity you are embedding in your conscious brain will help strengthen a positive effect on your subconscious. For example, instead of watching all those shows that don’t give you any positive return and make your brain just waste limited time, maybe you should watch lectures, or talks from positive role models.

Priorities & Boundaries Unite

It needs to be recognized that priorities by themselves, while great, are even stronger when combined with the setting of boundaries.

“A line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.”  – Oxford Languages

A boundary is simply drawing the line, and clearly defining what needs to be done, and what needs to be avoided and stopped to achieve the priority that is being set. For example, if your priority is to lose 100lbs, then you need to set boundaries on things such as how many calories you are consuming, how much proteins vs. carbs and sugars you are consuming, how much you are sitting in front of a computer, tv or mobile screen rather than being physically active.

Boundaries go even further in establishing them on what influences you in life. If you have a priority to become a top-ranking executive at your workplace, but you are constantly told you will never get there and are worthless by a coworker who may be competing for the same role as you, whether you are consciously aware of it, this will influence your likeliness of achieving this priority goal. It goes back to the subconscious mind, what we allow to be soaked in through all forms of senses, and how we choose to react to it will affect how much effort we put forth.

Setting Boundaries to your Priorities

Setting boundaries so that you can achieve maintaining, growing, supporting, and evolving your priorities is NOT an easy task. Especially when it involves other people who may not be a positive influence in your life but are someone such as a close family member or friend. Or maybe you need to give up a task, or something you truly enjoy for a season to maintain and achieve this priority. For example, maybe you shouldn’t be having those drinks every Friday night when you go out with your friends after work, and just drink water instead to make the priority of improving your physical health easier to achieve.

When you set boundaries to your priorities, you are improving your chances of success, while also accelerating, and strengthening yourself in achieving this success.

Accountability is your BEST FRIEND

Accountability is your best friend in maintaining and achieving the priorities you set. How you hold yourself accountable is up to you, commonly it involves having someone else take this journey along side you, even if their priorities are different, being that positive influence on each other, and pointing out when each other is failing can be exactly the poke you need to move forward. DO NOT FORGET that neither you nor your accountability partner are perfect, and you will drop the ball to holding each other accountable. Remember it is important to get back up and keep pushing forward.

Finally, if for some reason you find that your accountability partner sucks at their job, it is okay to fire them and find someone else, or something else to keep you accountable on your journey to success!

Resetting Your Failing Priorities

I write this article because I recently ran into an issue where even in doing all these things, I was still majorly failing in several of my priorities. I realized the reason why I was failing was not because of my priorities, or the influences in accomplishing them, it was because I had way too many priorities set. No one set number of priorities is for anyone, you must know what the priorities are you need to focus on, and what you can handle in your physical, mental, and spiritual foundations of your health.

Don’t forget that there is also the common issue of some priorities we can never get rid, or at least not right now. Priorities such as sleep, work, eating, etc. I call these the living priorities, you must make this your number one priority, and there is a possibility those may be the only priorities you can focus on for this moment. If your foundation of living is falling apart, then you will fall apart trying to accomplish anything else. If you can’t stay breathing, then other priorities mean nothing.

Ask yourself these questions to get started on seeing what changes you need to make to reset your current priorities,

  1. What are my current defined priorities?
  2. Do these priorities hold me back or keep me away from my “Living Priorities”?
  3. How are my “Living Priorities” doing right now? Do I need to adjust to better support these?
  4. How much energy do I have available to focus on other priorities, and how many of these can I focus on, or which one priority is more important than all these others?

 

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