Our world is filled with constant distractions. There are unlimited activities floating around us at all times that can take our attention, and often the ones that scream the loudest win. But most times, these aren’t the things that make us happy — or fulfilled.
A simple way to create a joyful life is to discover your personal why.
Most people live their lives by focusing on what they have to do. The endless tasks continue to mount up, and we wonder why we never feel like we’re getting ahead. It feels like we’re sprinting on a treadmill just trying to keep up, and every task completed is quickly replaced by new ones.
Life gets a lot more intentional when we stop to ask ourselves why we do things.
What Is The Purpose Of Your Life?
This is not an esoteric, philosophical question that you will ponder for a lifetime — you’re not solving the meaning of humanity’s existence, but you are delving deep into the beliefs, activities, and work that give meaning to your existence. You decide for yourself and your purpose may evolve over time.
Define Your Why
Grab a journal and write down things that you really love doing. Maybe it’s spending time with friends and family, doing a particular hobby, your job, or traveling. The answers are going to be different for every single person reading.
What’s important… is what’s important to you. It’s very hard to improve your life if you don’t know what improvement actually looks like for you personally.
Refining Your List Of Priorities
Once you have your initial list, decide what’s most important to you. For each item, ask yourself why you love it and why it’s important to have it in your life. Really examine each item on your list. This takes a good dose of self-awareness and truth, so breathe in and dig deep!
- Do you love it because it brings you inescapable, unfettered joy?
- Do you love it because it feeds your soul?
- Do you love it because it fills a need deep within yourself?
- Do you love it because it pleases someone else?
- Do you love it because it helps you escape?
- Do you love it because your husband/friend/mom loves it?
- Do you actually love it?
- Or were you taught growing up that you should love it?
Next, look at how much time you put into these activities that you love. Do you get to spend as much time as you’d like with each one, or do they get pushed to the back behind the other tasks in your daily life?
Discovering What’s Really Important
Now, make a list of all the things you are actually doing in your life. Compare this list list to the list of things that you love.
Notice anything weird? You’ll probably find some things you don’t really love, maybe a bunch of things you don’t love, that you are spending time on. Some things you take on out of a sense of obligation; some things you get pushed into by well-meaning friends or family; and some things you choose so that you look good to others. Everyone has some of these things, and these are the things you are looking to eliminate from your life.
It’s easy to fill our lives up with things that don’t really matter to us. The trick is to spend less time doing unimportant things and more time doing the things we love. It’s not a perfect process where you can drop everything right now, but if you focus on your priorities from this point on, you’ll be amazed at the results. Everyone is unique, and this is about finding out what you want to be doing… not what you feel you should be doing.
[Side note: We are adults. We have responsibilities. I’m not saying you should stop paying your bills because it doesn’t bring you joy. Or that you should leave your children to fend for themselves. Or that you should stop going to work because you hate your fucking job. You don’t get to quit adulting. There is a baseline of necessary activities that we must do. Where you draw that line is up to you.]
Always Ask Why
Moving forward, whenever a new item comes across your plate, ask yourself why. Is it really important to join that new committee for your child’s school or would it be more effective to spend that time with your child instead? Should you miss your gym time at lunch because your co-worker wants your help or is your fitness break more important to you?
Everybody's answers will be different.
Some are driven to advocate for children, while others long for time with children. Some value career over fitness, others will rank it in reverse. What matters is that you’re making the choice that is right for you.
It May Sound Simple… But That Doesn’t Mean It’s Easy
Our world is full of expectations that are placed on us by others… and also by ourselves. We’re expected to be super people that run around and accomplish a million different things every day, to excel at work and at home, to do. it. all. And yet, none of us is Super Woman. That bitch is a myth.
However, you can step away from society’s expectations and start focusing on your own expectations instead. By examining your life through the lens of your big why, you can live life according to your unique, super-powers.