“This is all worth it,” said Stephanie Nielson in regards to the pain, scars and challenges she has experienced as a result of a plane crash several years ago. While escaping from the burning plane left her with both physical and emotinal damage, Nielson explains that her suffering is worth it because she focuses on what matters most. She said, “I am a wife and mother. The accident couldn’t take that away from me.”
Sometimes tragedies or even daily struggles can cause us to shift our focus away from what matters most. Here are 10 ways you can keep yourself grounded in things that are truly important:
1. Evaluate your priorities
It’s impossible to hold our focus on what matters most when we don’t even know what’s important to us.
Take time to mediate. Ask yourself these questions: what makes me happy? Where do I want to be 10 years from now? Who do I want to be? Write your thoughts and make it a priority to discover your priorities.
2. Keep your priorities where you can see them
You might want to slap a sticky note on your mirror, hang a photo on the wall or keep a notecard on your desk. Prevent your priorities from escaping your mind by keeping them in sight.
3. Start a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is a daily log of all the things you’re grateful for. Taking 5 minutes at the end of the day to reflect on all the things you have to be thankful for helps you concentrate on what matters most.
4. Take care of yourself
It’s hard to hold onto what matters most when you’re losing yourself. Make sure you are adequately caring for yourself. Start cooking at home, join a yoga class, shower often and get enough sleep. As you take time for yourself, the time you spend focusing on what matters most will be more valuable.
5. Make a plan
If you don’t have the specifics spelled out of how you are going to hold onto what matters most, it’s going to be more challenging to actually do it. Create a plan you can stick to. For example, if your family matters most to you, set a goal to take your wife on a date every week or read your kids a story every night.
6. Minimize distractions
So many things can prevent you from giving the right attention to what matters the most. Things like television, social media and even activities that are important like housework or errands can make us lose focus on what’s really important to us. Choose your daily activities with a broader vision of how they will affect your life rather than looking at them in the short term.
7. Look back
Many people discourage looking at the past. While it can be detrimental to hang onto the past or allow what’s behind you to prevent you from moving forward, looking back can help you both realize how far you’ve come and remember what matters most. For example, you can quickly make a custom photo book using Chatbooks to help you remember your precious memories or read old journals to see how you’ve changed.
8. Turn off negative thoughts
Negative thoughts will destroy your focus on the important things. Often these thoughts are automatic, like expecting the worst outcomes of a situation or assuming people are thinking unkind things about us. Idenitfy these negative thoughts as they come and replace them with positives. Negativity is not what matters most, don’t allow it to become the most important thing on your mind.
9. Act today
If something matters the most, give it the respect it deserves. Don’t wait. Act now to hold on to what matters the most.
Although your challenges may not be as life-alterning as Nielson’s, you can cultivate the same type of faith and positive attitude that has kept her going day by day. Nielson example is an excellent reminder that it is possible to hold on to what matters most, even in difficult circumstances.