Focus On What Matters

At the end of the day, if we were to take inventory of our accomplishments, we might be surprised. How much of what we ever do during one given day makes us feel satisfied, complete, or fulfilled?  Perhaps, in today’s commotion, we have lost sight of those critical things that are vital to our well-being…the things that make life worth living.

To build a rewarding and meaningful life, make it a priority to set aside time for these daily essentials.

Cultivating inner peace:  Get rid of your stress, worries, and anxieties by grounding your mind in a state of inner peace. To experience greater balance and tranquility, set limitations on what you do, take time to relax, spend time in nature, keep positive, and practice some form of meditation to decompress. Fostering your inner peace is paramount to your mental and spiritual well-being.

Preserving your health: Practice self-care to maximize the benefits of a healthy mind, body, and soul. Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, getting a good night’s sleep, and avoiding vices such as smoking will help you live your life to the fullest. Invest in your overall health now to minimize preventable illnesses in the future.

Maintaining fruitful relationships: The right kind of friends and family members can give you a sense of love and belonging. You can count on them to build your self-esteem, get you out of your comfort zone, keep you active, make you laugh, and encourage you through turbulent times. While you can’t always choose your family members, you can choose who you want to be around for the social connections you need to flourish.

Being true to your core values: Your core values are important because they guide your thoughts and behavior. They are what you believe matter most in life. Examples of your core values might include achievement, integrity, courage, dependability, learning, and kindness. Once you come up with your list of core values, stay true to them. Deviating much from them could have a detrimental effect on your well-being.

Managing your time: You are allotted a finite amount of time every day, so use it wisely. Any time wasted can never be retrieved, so carefully structure and organize your daily activities around what gives you the greatest return on investment. Good management of your time allows you to efficiently juggle your personal and professional responsibilities without unwarranted stress and strain.

Living with purpose:  Your intention in life and motivation to achieve comes from having a purpose. It is what shapes your goals, provides a sense of direction, and fuels your passion. To develop your purpose, understand who you are, what you love to do, what you do well, and what makes you feel fulfilled. Establish a purpose that is meaningful and gratifying to you and beneficial to others… no matter what stage you are in life.

Pursuing knowledge: In today’s fast-paced society, there is limitless information available to support you with your personal and professional development. Expand your opportunities by reading books, taking classes, searching the internet, watching videos and television, conversing with others, and even playing computer games. In your quest for knowledge, assess the validity of your source, its content, and the added value to your lifestyle. Being well informed is essential to your success, so make learning a vital part of your daily routine

Promoting a positive mindset:  An optimistic outlook or positive mindset can have a huge impact on your emotional and physical well-being.  It promotes a “can do” attitude and sense of hopefulness. It empowers you to look at the “brighter side of life” with an expectation of accomplishing positive rather than negative results. A shift to the positive will reduce your stress level and allow you to cope more readily to whatever comes your way. To be a winner, this is the mindset for you.

Seeking new opportunities:  Life is short, so take full advantage of its rich offerings while you can. To expand your horizons, explore activities that are new and different. Do what you have never done before. Try learning a new language, playing a new musical instrument, traveling to a new place, or eating a new type of food. In your professional life, look for ways you can build your skills or advance your career. To reach your full potential, challenge yourself to go beyond the norm to do something even better.

Loving who you are: The person you are most with is yourself. Focus on being your top priority and best friend. The act of loving yourself doesn’t mean you stop caring about others or neglecting your responsibilities to them. It refers to accepting yourself fully, treating yourself with kindness and respect, and nurturing your growth and well-being. What matters most in life is YOU, so do your best to focus on realizing the daily essentials that matter.

Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living

Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A.  in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College in Southern California.

She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member for BSU.  Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging.  As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.