There have been a few times in my life where I have had to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I had to think about what was most important to me and admit I was not paying attention to areas that I needed to. I am guessing each of you has had to do the same thing at one point or another.
For example, there may have been a time when you were so focused on your career that your overall health was ignored. Or, you were so centered on your children that your relationship with your spouse started to suffer. Whether we want to admit it or not, our values can only sustain neglect for a short period of time before causing damage. After awhile, this can cause us to feel like we are caught in a storm.
Why a storm? If you have ever been under a tornado warning then you probably know what I am talking about (and let me take a moment to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the areas of the country that have experienced such loss of life and ruin over the past week). The feeling of anxiety and not knowing when it is going to end, like in a storm, is what our lives can feel like constantly when certain areas experience neglect.
There is an exercise I learned from Pat Vitale, Director of the Institute for Health and Healing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that has helped me prioritize my own values. For this exercise, take a piece of paper and draw six squares side by side. In each of the six squares, fill in your six most important values. Values, in the simplest of terms, are defined as anything that has worth or meaning to you. For each of these values, ask yourself, “What percent of my time is spent paying attention to each value?” Just a warning, this is usually when guilt sets in because you realize what areas in your life you are not paying attention to.
Next, ask yourself these two questions:
– How long have things been this way?
– How long do you plan for it to continue to be this way?
Let’s say for example you work full time and are also attending school in the evenings. This may mean you are spending less time with your family. In this situation, you know there is an end in sight because you will eventually be done with school. If this sounds like you, I suggest you communicate with your family things are not going to be this way forever and you appreciate their support and understanding during this time. When school is finished, make another chart. Fill in your top priorities and focus on creating a new balance among your values.
In another example, let’s say you work 80 – 90 hours a week. Working this many hours, it is likely that other areas of your life are going to suffer. In this case, ask yourself, “How long can each of my values sustain this setup without damage?” The answer to this question will hopefully help you realize that a change needs to take place and push you to make a change.
Are you caught in a storm? If so, I encourage you do this exercise and see which of your values are lacking attention. If you do not know how to make the change on your own, don’t forget about the ONE who has ultimate control and will ALWAYS be there to rescue you; all you need do is ask.
Health and blessings,
Randi's passion is to create positive change in a person's life that leads to prolonged health and happiness. She works with individuals who wish to control weight, increase their energy, lower stress and manage and prevent disease all without dieting, counting calories or feeling overwhelmed. She is a certified holistic health coach and is in the process of completing her personal training certification.