The Healing Power of Shifting Priorities

by Kyle Spearin

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Have you ever thought about how short life is?

It might feel like a long time, but it comes and goes in a flash. As we get older, it almost seems to accelerate even faster. The Roman philosopher Seneca wrote a book on the Shortness of Life that is still very relevant today. He is quoted as saying:

“Life will follow the path it started upon, and will neither reverse nor check its course; it will make no noise, it will not remind you of its swiftness.”

Even so, we live life as if we will be here forever. Think about how quickly each week flies by seemingly without consequence. We spend 40 hours a week at work and about 8 hours a day sleeping. In reality that means we have very little time to ourselves. When we do have free time, most people waste it. This can be seen in how much time we spend idly watching t.v., consumed by work, or otherwise engaged.

Luckily, there is a very simple solution that can help us maximize our time and feel fulfilled in life.

To live a better life, we need to evaluate our priorities. Chances are when you’re on your deathbed, you won’t wish that you worked more or spent a greater amount of time watching The Office. This doesn’t mean quitting your job or sleeping less to have more time in a day. It simply means that you have to make time to decide what parts of life mean most to you. 

Regardless of the priorities you choose, the ultimate goal is to reframe your life so that you’re living for yourself. You need to change your life patterns to maximize time spent on things you enjoy and people you enjoy while you still have time. It’s time to get the most out of life.

Here are 3 simple ways to live a better life starting today.

Be Present

The next time you go out to eat at a restaurant, pay attention to the people sitting all around you. You can probably guess what you’ll see: people looking down. When sitting down, you are guaranteed to see people on their phones texting or scrolling. 

These people are in the room, but they are not present at that moment. This is increasingly more common in all aspects of life, which is really to our detriment. Rather than going through life with your head down, take the time to look up and live in the moment.

There are many ways to  be present. One thing you can do is to turn off your devices or put them on silent. If you’ve ever tried talking to someone who was texting, you know that it can be extremely irritating. They aren’t fully listening to you because they’re engaged elsewhere and it feels like you’re talking to yourself. 

While in the presence of others, you should give them your full-attention. Try to actively listen and only worry about what’s going on in that moment. Not only will the people around you be delighted to interact, you will also get a sense of serenity.Just to know that nothing is more important than what you’re doing at that time will relieve any stress or anxiety you have for other things going on in life. 

It’s ok to disconnect from your devices and live in the present; after all, it’s the only thing you can control.

Do Things that You Enjoy

As you get older, life comes with more and more responsibilities. This might be working long hours, owning a house, having a family, paying bills, and many more things. Since we have an increasing amount of time spent on things we have to do, you need to balance that out with things that you want to do.

It’s so easy to get consumed by daily life and forget to have a little fun. Over time, this leads to resentment in many facets of life. If you deprive yourself of things you enjoy, life becomes miserable. The best way to overcome this is to set aside time each day to do something that you enjoy.

Create a list of things that you enjoy doing. Maybe you like coloring or reading, some people might prefer something physically active. It really doesn’t matter as long as they make you happy. Once you have your list together, think about ways to integrate at least one into your day. This will give you something to look forward to and relieve your stress,

Even if it’s only for an hour, take a break from the hecticness of life and do something you enjoy.

Put Loved Ones First

Think about all the times that you've heard the excuse: “I’m too busy to do ________ because ________.”

With all the distractions we have in modern life, it’s easy to lose sight of things that really matter. It’s also easy to forget to make time for people you love. Although life gets busy, you owe it to yourself and those you care about to stay in touch.

How long does it take to send a text message or an email?

Something as little as a text to check in on someone can have major benefits to everyone around you. By taking the time to show that you care about others, you will feel better about yourself. They might even do the same for you. 

There’s no reason to lose touch in an era with so many communication options including those you can check intermittently. Try to reach out to people that matter to you daily. It will make your life much more enjoyable.

Final Thoughts

Take time every day to enjoy the things that really matter in life. By shifting your priorities, you will be happier and feel more fulfilled. Take control of your life by changing what matters.

About the Author 

Kyle Spearin

Kyle is an author, educator, and real estate enthusiast. Along with his website kylespearin.com, he contributes to other major sites including Personal Growth Channel and BiggerPockets. He started creating content to share ideas on personal development, productivity, and the early foundations of wealth accumulation--things that he wishes he knew more about earlier in life.

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