Tips, such as being aware of how you spend your time and reflecting on what makes you happy, can help you assess your life and make changes to find happiness again.
What you think is important to you might not align with how you spend your time and what you prioritize. You can use proactive ways to help you determine what’s most important to you, allowing you to find fulfillment and meaning.
Figuring out what’s important to you can help you address what you prioritize now. It allows you to make changes that improve your life and help you find meaning. Taking the time to reflect and consider what you want to spend your time doing can help clear up your priorities.
How to determine what’s important to you
Your priorities will likely shift multiple times throughout your life, so repeating these steps every few years is worthwhile. It can help you make beneficial changes and embrace the important aspects of your life.
1. Rank the meaningful areas of your life
You can’t pour all of yourself into every area of your life. If you try, you won’t be able to focus on the important areas of your life.
You can determine which areas you should focus on most by making a list and ranking the most important aspects. Consider focusing the most on your top-ranking areas and putting less time into the others. Some areas on your list may share equal importance, and that’s OK.
Below are examples of the things you may consider adding to your list:
- marriage or romantic relationship
- health and fitness
- spirituality or faith
- personal growth
- professional growth
- rewarding work
- using your talents
- wealth and savings
- prestige or status
- your impact on society
- influence and power
- leisure or relaxation time
- the place you live
2. Reflect on what you talk about the most
The things you talk about the most can give insight into what’s most important in your life. This exercise isn’t about what you should say but what you want to say or what naturally flows in conversation.
Behavioral relationship expert Tracy Crossley suggests considering why you’re motivated to discuss the topics you reference. She explains, “There is an importance that you may not realize.”
You’re on the right track if you discuss the things you want to prioritize. Frequently talking about other things shows that you’re not focusing on what’s important.
3. Consider the most important people in your life
The people you care about most can help you determine what’s most important to you. Thinking about these people can help you value and prioritize those relationships.
Psychotherapist Abby Wilson explains, “The people you surround yourself with will immensely influence your beliefs and behaviors. If you spend time with people you admire and respect, and people who are in touch with their purpose and their why in life, you’re that much closer to finding it.”
The important people in your life play a larger role than you may realize. They can bring happiness and fulfillment to your day.
4. Identify what you enjoy doing most
Figuring out what you enjoy can help determine which hobbies and activities are important to you. Identifying these things can encourage you to act on them more often.
5. Think about your qualities and what you’re good at
Your natural strengths can help you determine what’s most important. The areas you excel in often indicate what you’re passionate about, showing what you subconsciously prioritize.
6. Look at how you spend your time
How you spend your free time can tell you quite a bit about what’s most important to you. No matter how you spend it, this time shows what you prioritize. If what you do doesn’t align with what you think is essential, you can make a shift and spend your time in more fulfilling ways.
7. Pay attention to what you think about
Paying attention to your thoughts when you’re not doing anything to keep your mind busy can give you insight. The things you think about indicate what’s important to you.
8. Think about the part of your life you want to be better in
You can determine what’s most important by considering the areas of your life that need improvement. Frequently thinking that you want to experience growth in an area of your life helps identify areas of importance.
9. Consider how you want to describe yourself to others
Thinking about what you want to say you accomplished can help you identify what’s most important. How you want to be remembered can help you recognize how you want your life to turn out.
10. Reflect on when you were last happy
When you think about the last time you were happy, you can identify the areas of your life you should focus on more often. If it’s been a while since you were happy, you’ll acknowledge that it’s time to shift your priorities.
Why it’s important to determine what’s important
Figuring out what’s most important can help you refocus your priorities and make the most of your life. These exercises encourage you to spend more time doing what makes you happiest.
You can take an honest look at how you’re living and assess whether it aligns with what’s important. If it doesn’t align, you can consider how to make changes to refocus and find fulfillment.
Therapist Kelly Neupert explains that thinking about how you spend your time can help you determine what you want to focus on. The two aspects don’t always align, and recognizing what needs to change can make a difference.
When you live your life focusing on what’s essential, you can live a life you can be proud of later. It allows you to reflect on your life and find meaning in how you engage your time.
Figuring out what’s most important to you can help you recognize areas of your life you can improve. Life gets busy sometimes, and it can lead to focusing on unfulfilling tasks.
By finding ways to identify your priorities, you can adjust your life to align with what you want. You don’t have to go through your life feeling uninspired and unfulfilled.
Change is possible, and you can find everything you want and need. You can use these ideas to help you refocus on the most important parts of your life.