Everything we do in life is about priorities, and it has to be. If we didn’t break everything down in order of importance I think our brains would explode from the effort of giving the same amount of energy to every single task. We prioritise work tasks, friends, family, weekend activities, alone time… pretty much everything. Sometimes though, it is hard to work out the priority order.
I thought that travel is a choice, something I have decided to prioritize above everything else. People have said that it is easy for me as I don’t want a house and therefore it’s not a priority. That isn’t true… I do want a house (who doesn’t) but I worked out that it isn’t as of a high priority.
Every year around New Years I sit down and complete the below task, it helps me to identify what my goals are, how they have changed from the previous year and mist importantly – how to prioritize those goals!
To complete the below task it is vital that you are relaxed. I like to have a glass of wine… though I imagine hot chocolate may work just as well. Do what ever you need to do to be relaxed and open. If you prefer, sit on your couch in your PJs, or maybe you are most relaxed after a run – doesn’t matter, just make sure you are in a mind-set of relaxation.
The second most important thing is to be honest – with yourself. Step away from expectations and perceptions and look at every step honestly. Which is why I suggest drinking wine or hot chocolate… keeps me honest with myself.
How to create a priority goal list in 10 minutes
- Drink wine/hot chocolate
- On a piece of paper write down all of the things you want to do in your life. Everything!! Including the crazy ideas, like sail round the world, move to Barcelona, run a marathon, win a chilli eating contest – everything! Write as many as you want, have 20 or 5, doesn’t matter. Write them down sporadically. Write some big, some small – scatter them across the page. Leave white spaces between each one.
- Look at all of your ideas, dreams, thoughts breaking through all of that white. Then drink more wine.
- Number each item from 1-10 – number 1 being you ultimate dream, the thing that when you see it written down in front of you, your heart yearns towards. The items that sparks a small pit of fear and excitement in your stomach. It could be anything – big or small – this has nothing to do with achievability.
- Drink more…
- Place a star next to the things you could do tomorrow without any more money (like applying for jobs, learning French).
- Put a money symbol next to the items that you can do with your current savings. Two money symbols next to the items that you will need 6 months to save for and 3 money symbols next to the items you will need a year to save for. If there are items that need more time to save for (like building a hostel, buying a Ferrari) then put money symbol in a circle.
- Drink more wine/hot chocolate. Stand up – walk away from your paper. Do ten star jumps. Shake out all of that energy and excitement. You may look like an idiot… who cares?!
- Look at your paper – find the task with the lowest number on it and with only one money symbol and a star. Start doing that tomorrow! This is your first achievable goal. Make it happen.
- Find the task with the lowest number and two or three money symbols on it – open a bank account for that one tomorrow. Put a huge chunk of your savings into it. Divert all funds, make sacrifices to increase how much goes into that account – nothing else matters.
- Find the task with the lowest number and a money symbol in a circle, open up another bank account and put a small sum into this each week. Even if it is only $20. Let it grow. Next year once you have achieved the immediate items and the items with two/three money symbols – maybe this item will be higher on the priority and achievable list.
- Drain the last of your glass.
This is how I have worked out my priorities to travel every year. But I also have a small fund for a house some day – that is slowly growing. In a couple more years that money symbol will be out of a circle and it will jump up in the priority order. Until then I am planning my next adventure.
Hopefully this little task helps you work out your goals in a positive and active way. After all the only person who stops you from doing what you want is you – so take a step back and look at what needs to happen to live your dream.