Nooo….don’t make me choose…..anything but that!!! I can do it all!! I swear this time I will!
But I am mean and unsympathetic and I make them choose anyway.
It’s SCARY to declare our priorities.
It means committing to something.
Admitting that we really, really want it.
It means risking failure, embarrassment, and discomfort.
It also means that at least for a little while, other things are going to take a back seat.
But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, the RELIEF you will feel from setting priorities is in direct proportion to the resistance you feel.
In other words, the harder it is to say what your top priority is for this week or month, the more you need to pick one.
That doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you’ll focus on. It doesn’t mean the children won’t get fed or the dog will get mange. It just means that it’s the thing you’re going to put the MOST energy toward.
Let’s make it more tangible and specific.
We’re halfway through 2015. If you could get ONE thing completed this year, what would you want it to be? What would make you feel SO PROUD of yourself??
Here is my challenge to you:
I want you to get it done by October 31st.
Once we hit November, you’re in the holiday swirl. You’re making plans for next year. You’re just trying to keep up as the year drags you into the vortex of year-end tracking and planning and travel and gift-buying and and and….also something with pumpkins.
So give yourself the finish line of October 31st, and start working backward. What would you need to get done in September, August, and July in order to hit that mark? In that case, what do you need to get done this week? Tomorrow?
Try mapping it out. Break it down into little steps, and write them into your calendar.
Four months is a nice manageable container of time: long enough to get some real traction on something, but not so long that it feels like forever.
One project that want to cross OFF your list.
One thread you want to follow through to the end.
One task you don’t want to have to THINK about any more.
If you totally rocked out ONE accomplishment in 2015, what would you want it to be?
PICK JUST ONE.
Hey, cut that out.
I saw you sneak those three others in there. Yes I do have laser eyes. I will zap you with them if you don’t quit it. Declaring three things is self-sabotage, love.
Here is a secret: when you put all your energy toward just one big thing at a time, you get there faster and then you get to finish up other things too. But when you try to do all of them at once, you don’t make progress on ANY of them. (This is a secret that Greg McKeown shares with the world in his excellent book Essentialism, by the way. Thanks Jenny Shih for the rec!)
Full disclosure: I am telling you what I need to hear this week. I’ve got 8,000 things in the hopper right now, and I was about to tear my hair out last week because I felt like I was just spinning my wheels on all of them. So I sat myself down and made a new list of priorities. I acknowledged the five things that are most important to me in my life– the people, relationships, projects, and joy. But then I also picked the ONE thing that I was going to really push forward over the next few months.
For example, maybe your children’s wellbeing, your family’s financial health, and your own spiritual practice are core values that you’re never willing to neglect, no matter how much you also want to train to sprint up Mount Hood in heels. Fair enough. But those are longterm ongoing parts of your life.
We’re talking about something different.
I want you to pick ONE COMPLETE-ABLE THING that you’re going to really push forward between now and October 31st, so that you can give yourself the gift of completion.
It might be something hard or it might be something delicious, but it should be something that gives you an enormous sense of pride, joy, and accomplishment when you picture it DONE.
And yes, loves, I do know what mine is. I declared it yesterday to the fantastic women in my EFBA (epic fucking badass) Mentorship. And then I made them declare theirs too, because when you work with me for a full year, that is the kind of horrible mean thing I will make you do.
They squirmed a little bit, but in the end each one talked eloquently about the vital few things in her life that are important no matter what else is going on, AND then declared the one thing she was going to complete by October 31st.
I welled up.
It was so incredibly moving to hear that kind of clarity. It’s going to help them create a year and a trajectory and a life that is stunningly beautiful.
And that’s what I want for you too.
So tell me. What’s your one thing? What’s your one ring to rule them all? What’s the one thing you commit to FINISHING by October 31st?
Now go write it on your calendar.