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Archive for December, 2011

Articles

Re-priorities in the New Year

It’s everywhere this year, as it is every year.  New Years Resolutions.  Should we?  Will we?  How long will they last?  On and on.

Lots of folks will tend to shy away from making resolutions because they know, deep down, that they’ll fail to keep them for very long – and would rather not deal with the shame of failure.  That’s too bad, because I believe that anything that motivates us to think about making our lives better is a good thing that should be embraced, not run away from.
So if there’s something you need to change, call it something else.  Instead of using the R word, call it a life change, or shifting gears, or turning over a new leaf…whatever.  I choose to use a different R word: re-priorities.
Let’s face it – we all have the same 24 hours in each day to accomplish whatever we want.  Most people divide that time into thirds – 8 hours to sleep, 8 hours to work, and then 8 hours for everything else.  That’s the basic framework that many feel bound by.  But what if we thought of it differently?
Like the old adage says, anything that’s truly important enough to us will get done.  Why?  Because we’ll prioritize it that way.  Most people will watch their favorite TV program, come hell or high water.  For some, it’s watching the game.  Riding their bike.  Taking time to read to the kids.  I will dare to wager that most anything that “we just can’t seem to accomplish” is simply because we haven’t prioritized it highly enough within our own given 24 hours.  Fair?
I try to keep a list, usually on my phone or my whiteboard.  It looks like a task list, but really it’s a priority list.  The order of the items on the list is very important.  First things first.  I’ll happily admit that a lot of the minor stuff on the bottom of that list never sees the light of day.  And that’s just fine.  
So if I really, really want to drop those extra pounds this year, I put my exercise time near the top.  If I want to deepen my relationship with a family member or friend, I put spending that time up there.  There’s only room for a few at the top spots.  And that’s where the prioritization comes in.  Stephen Covey teaches the power of prioritizing our time by helping us imagine time as a finite container.  Any way you slice it, the 24 hours in a day are a constant.  But how we choose to use them is a variable, and it’s up to us. 
So for me, as 2012 approaches, I’m not looking at “resolutions.”  I’m taking a hard look at my priorities – and how I can seize the power of re-prioritizing my days to improve my life, inside and out.  I hope you’ll do the same, as we look forward to an exciting and fresh New Year!