Life is full of choices and at first glance, it can be hard to make the right one.
I have learned, through my own experiences, that the right decision is often crystal clear… when it is all over. Why is that? Why can we not see what is right in front of us? What blinds us from the choices that seem so obvious after the fact? My simply answer is A lack of vision.
I don’t mean eyesight, I mean, a lack of clear priorities that guide our life. A list of rules that remind us of the things that are most important to us.
Work, family, parenting, marriage, sex, money, religion, education, community; all of these are important parts of our lives, but there is simply not enough time in the day to do everything and without a clear vision, something is going to be dropped. This is where we make our first poor decisions.
So what is our default?
What excuses do we use to justify our habits of making poor decisions?
Whatever is in front of us right NOW is the most important.
The latest Email, the last text, the child that held on to our shirt the longest or the phone call that comes through, even when we are in the middle of a conversation. Think about that for a minute. We will answer the phone when we are IN A CONVERSATION simply because it is the latest thing to grab our attention!
I know, sometimes it’s a business call, emergency etc, but I talking about the other 99% of the time where we simply give in to the latest ring. I too am guilty of simply prioritizing a phone call or text over the person in front of me without thinking of my true priorities. Nothing says “you’re not important” more than pausing an in-person conversation to read a text from someone else…who’s not even there! 😱
How much energy is this really gonna take?!
For example, spending time with our children can be a LOT of work. From calming the 1 year-old to listening to the constant noises of the 11 year-old, or trying to understand what the 14 year old is even saying. It requires energy, focus and a bit of patience (ok, a LOT of patience) to really engage with our kids on a daily basis.
This takes WORK! And who wants to do that work when you just got home from work?! The result? We make the decision based on how hard the task is instead of how important the task is. “Go play on your I-pad, daddy is tired right now”. “Why don’t you go play in your room, mommy is busy texting right now”.
If we don’t push ourselves to look at priority over energy, we will watch the most influential years of our children’s lives be wisped away, only to wake up years later and wonder why we don’t even know these kids under our roof. Don’t get me wrong, personal time is important too, look for my next blog on that topic!
We need money to live, so we can easily justify our bad choices in this area with a simple statement of “I have to work!”. But that only compounds our bad decisions by adding poor communication to the mix. I mean, who can argue with “I have to work”?
If you are married and you choose a job that keeps you apart from your spouse, your marriage won’t be fulfilling or last very long.
If you have kids, and you choose a job that keeps you away from home in the evenings you will miss your opportunity to build those relationships and be there for them when they need you.
If you want to travel, picking a job that requires strict hours and good internet will most likely stress your entire family out and rob you of any joy you might have experienced in the first place! Stopping to think about what you REALLY want in life will help you see clearly right now and make decisions with your job that fulfill those dreams and goals!
One of our favorite aspects of traveling is meeting new people. The RV community is really great! This community is made up of retirees, Single travelers, adventure-seeking couples, families and weekenders! You will meet people in all walks of life and as a whole, they are very accepting of everyone. This leads to nights by the fire, learning about life lessons and gaining knowledge of places you’ve never been and this not only happens on the weekends, but on weeknight too!
As you get to know this group, it ushers in hikes and hangouts, parties and card games and it’s all wonderful!
Until…you let it become THE priority. When you’re not spending any family together and opting for the group instead, your relationships will begin to suffer. When you avoid the hard conversations with your spouse and replace that time with a fireside chat with the group, you are putting the wrong priority on top and your life will suffer (if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!). Everything is screaming for your attention and without proper vision, you will simply give in to what seems fun or convenient at the time. Even wholesome things like community can be abused and used to continue making bad choices.
I used to come home after work, make dinner, run around the house naked, play cards and Super Nintendo and watch movies with my wife. Then we had kids and all of that changed…haha (well, I still make dinner).
Some days I long for that self-focused approach to my evenings. The desire to just sit and do nothing enters my mind regularly and if I don’t stop and think of my priorities, I will convince myself that “I deserve this” and go about my selfish plan with indignation.
There is nothing wrong with personal time, and in fact, you MUST make time to relax and enjoy life in whichever way you enjoy on a regular basis (you might have to give up running around naked for 18 years or so…), however, when you have little humans in your life, they need attention, affection and TIME. There is no substitute for your TIME (although many substitutes are tried daily).
Without a plan, you will naturally put personal time ahead of kid time, and spouse time and later find yourself unfulfilled and you will miss out on some of the most impressionable years of your child’s life and important time in your marriage.
I am sure there are many other reasons we could all come up with, but you get the point; we use excuses to miss-prioritize our life in order to feel good about it in the moment, but it robs us of LIFE!
So how do we start to choose the life of our dreams? How do we beat our habits and start fresh?
Here’s my advice.
Go rent an Airbnb, draw a warm bath (with bubbles), light some candles. Then ease down into the tub and think about your life. 💕
Or…if you can’t do that 😆 , set aside time wherever you are and get in a quiet place, a relaxed place where you can think clearly and dream big!
Ask yourself the following questions and jot down your answers:
- “What do I want my life to look like today, and in a few years?”
- “Who is most important in my life?”
- “What is one thing I feel is holding me back from my dreams?”
- “What is one thing I could do personally to enjoy my life right now?”
- “Is my job helping me reach my goals NOW, or am I waiting for retirement to achieve my dreams?”
- “Do I have the right job?”
- “Am I spending enough time with the ones I love?”
- How much time should I be spending with the ones I love?
- “Am I building relationships with quality friends who can speak into my life when I need it?”
- “Can I give my kids back, or has the return policy expired?” (HAHA…don’t ask this…I checked…it has expired)
Next, make a plan!
Everyone’s life looks a little bit different, so I can’t give you all the answers (see! it’s a mystery novel after all! aha!).
What I can tell you is this; a dream without a plan is rarely achieved. You have to take baby steps today or you’ll never get anywhere.
- Reduce or eliminate your debt, and don’t take on anymore (lookup Dave Ramsey’s course on financial freedom- it’s a game changer!)
- Start watching and following people who are living the dream you want. Immerse yourself in a new way of thinking that gets you out of the rut you’re in.
- Begin to live on less. Put Amazon on pause!
- Change jobs! Get into something that fuels your dreams and doesn’t suck the life out of you. Again, if your debt is low and you’re spending is even lower, you don’t need so much time at your job to make it work.
- Exchange things for freedom. Sell that extra car. Go to a smaller house, cook at home more, get rid of some THINGS that you really don’t need anymore.
- Pick a song…that’s right, pick a song that gets you excited about the life you want and start playing it more often. In the morning or just in times when you need it. Music is a powerful motivator!
And Finally, put your goals in FRONT OF YOU!
- Write the top 5 things that you want in your life and post them around the house and car.
- Write down the habits that steal your joy and post them around so you notice when you are slipping back into them.
- Set a date for your next step and work hard to reach it.
- Share your vision with your wife, family and friends and be open when they call you out. (Side note, I don’t suggest sharing lofty goals with your kids. They may not understand that you may miss your goal from time to time and it may become and emotional rollercoaster. However, do include them on small goals that you know you can achieve so they too can join in on the experience).
Here’s the deal. You only get one chance at raising your kids.
You only get one chance (per marriage…lol) at making your marriage the best it can be.
You only get one chance to build a healthy body.
You only get one young-adulthood, one parenthood, one senior-adulthood.
You only get one life to live!
Prioritize your life today and don’t let lack of vision steal your precious seconds, hours, days and years of your life away!