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Sometimes things happen in our lives that can shake our world. A family member gets sick, a relationship ends, you move away from home to start a new adventure. Whether these events are scary, heartbreaking, or challenging they shift our perspective about the things around us. My inspiration this past month has been prioritizing the important things in life.

Putting everything into perspective

There came a time this summer where the pressure became too much. Both of my grandparents were dealing with health issues, I was about to start my senior year of college, and I was struggling with my mental health as an athlete. Instead of only focusing on my main priorities, I was spreading myself too thin.

Growing up, I always kept busy with sports, academics, or volunteer opportunities–I always had a lot going on. I thrived off having a full schedule and thought that’s how my life needed to be. By trying to do it all, I believed I would become more successful and provide myself with better opportunities. The downside of my booked schedule was that I barely had time to take care of the things important to me.

I like to believe we all do this at times, we’re all victims to it. We get so caught up in the craziness of our lives that we brush aside the things most important to us.

Prioritizing my life

Events started happening in my life where I was forced to change my perspective. It was overwhelming because I knew there were things in my life, I had to give up in order to focus on my priorities.

I took a leadership class my junior year at Boise State. The professor taught us that every leader has a personal philosophy they should live by. These are core values they aspire to have as a person and leader. I realized, as events unfolded, I was no longer living by my personal philosophy, and it was difficult to accept.

So, I decided to take action. I wanted to prioritize and reorganize what was meaningful to me. It took a while for me to sit down and name all the things I had going on in my life. There were certain things I was doing that were no longer aligned with my core values. These included my actions, personal thoughts, and how I was treating others. Because I was no longer taking care of myself, my problems began bleeding into those around me.

One particularly hard day, I found myself venting to my mom about how stressful my life was. She sat quiet and I was frustrated that she wasn’t agreeing with me. I caught myself later on that day and realized my mom had a lot going on as well. She was moving to a new school, just had a biopsy for skin cancer, and was dealing with both of her parents in and out of the hospital. How I treated my mom at that moment wasn’t who I was or wanted to be. It was then I realized this change of mindset was necessary.

While reflecting on my personal philosophy, one of my core values is family. I wasn’t giving them the time, support, and love that they needed. Once I fixated on my main priority, everything else fell into place. After much thought, tough decisions, and difficult conversations, I decided to let go of some things in my life. And let me tell you it was not easy.

A difficult decision I had to make was leaving a job I really enjoyed. I found myself no longer having the time or energy to give that position my all. Putting 100% into everything I do was another core value of mine and I was no longer living that out. I was nervous to talk to my boss and worried what other coworkers would think of me for leaving.

Throughout my life, I had never quit or given up on something before. I made sure every task I took on I completed to the best of my ability. So, having to let go of things in my life was challenging. In the past, I would’ve seen myself as a failure for giving up, but instead, I was proud of being able to make those tough decisions to pursue my priorities.

How to make changes in our lives

An article from Soul Salt explains different ways to begin prioritizing our lives. Once you choose to rethink where you’re spending your efforts, sitting down and actually making the tough decisions can become overwhelming. There are things you want to prioritize like family or health, and then there are things you have to prioritize like school or a team. And with all that also come other distractions that take away from our priorities.

One way to start approaching our priorities is by creating a personal philosophy. By learning our core values, we’re able to focus on what we believe is important. These values begin to feed into our goals and everyday habits. From there, we can create aspirations and big goals. The article suggests writing a “100 Aspirations” list. By writing down the things that fuel the fire inside us, we start to become a lot clearer about our priorities.

We can begin committing to these goals slowly, every day and then over time realigning our entire lives with our core values. The most amazing part is that everyone’s core values are different. I also believe that our priorities change depending on our stages of life. Sometimes it takes a hard realization to put our priorities into perspective, but it also helps us realign with everything important.

– Lexi Almeido

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