Get a Grip on Your Priorities
Updated: Aug 3
Do you wish there were signs telling you what you should do next?
"Go here." Or, "Pay that." It would certainly make life easier.
Unfortunately, priorities are based on an individual's perspective. Everyone looks at life from a different point of view and priorities vary from person to person because of this.
Many people don't see the need to prioritize, which is one of the top reasons Americans have too much debt, bad credit, a lack of savings, foreclosures, unpaid fines, and unpaid bills.
Failing to prioritize can cause great stress and even sickness or depression.
One person may think the way they look should be a priority so they spend the majority of their earnings and time on things like clothes, jewelry, shoes, working out at the gym, or plastic surgery.
Another person’s education may be at the top of their list and they choose to use their funds and time to go to college.
Some people fund a large house or fancy car while others like to have a lot of spending and vacation money.
We all have preconceived notions of what our priorities should be.
Much of it has to do with how impressed we are by external things such as advertisements, peer pressure, or what we were raised to believe is important.
We also worry about what other people think and don't even realize our actions are motivated by that.
Our financial choices are closely related to what we spend our time doing. If you do a lot of shopping, you will more than likely spend more of your money on the things you shop for.
Our beliefs are not always correct when it comes to priorities. Our bad habits can influence our beliefs tremendously.
Some people don’t have their priorities in order because of a lack of integrity or they lack money management skills.
Whatever the reason, if our priorities are not in order, we can suffer in various ways.
What you owe to family members or friends can hinder your relationships if you fail to prioritize paying them back. Our bodies will suffer if we fail to exercise and eat healthily.
Get a New Mindset
So, how do we get organized and focused on our goals?
The answer is in how you spend your money, time, and effort.
If there are urgencies in your life that need your immediate attention, you shouldn't see any of your money as spending money, until you get those handled.
If you have a lot of debt, and you want to get ahead, you will have to get a new mindset and stop seeing your money as something that can be spent.
The key to changing your spending habits is to change your behavior. Stop shopping for entertainment purposes if you have other financial goals. Stop hanging out with friends who are big spenders.
Most people pay their bills and then think everything that's left over is spending money but that kind of mindset will keep you broke.
Once your bills are paid for the month, you need to take into account how much is still owed on your balances. If you still owe a balance on a debt, you're not in the clear to spend money on frivolous things.
Financial freedom comes when you make a strong and dedicated commitment to pay everyone you owe, above and beyond the minimum monthly payment.
👉🏻 If earned money is owed money, it isn't yo money! 👈🏻
CHANGE YOUR MINDSET - Earned money should be designated for debts until they are paid in full. Spending money should be tightly budgeted.
Obstacles will always be a hindrance if you don't get your priorities in order and knock them out one by one. Debts will hang over your head as long as you ignore them.
We may feel that we are pulled in many directions by other pressing things, and stress sometimes causes us to put our priorities aside and ignore them. We have to learn to push through those times and focus our energy on whatever is at the top of our priority list.
It takes discipline and perseverance to keep priorities in order.
Life happens, I get it.
It’s what we do daily that matters the most. It can be challenging to keep your priorities in order but it is possible.
Ask yourself a couple of questions. How bad do you want it? How driven are you to live a life of freedom instead of struggling? Ask yourself these questions every time you think about spending.
How to Prioritize
To have a positive and productive lifestyle, we must get a grip on our priorities. Otherwise, we spend our time, money, and effort on less needful things.
The best way to reach a goal is to prioritize. I dropped a printable goal sheet at the bottom of this page. 👇🏻 Fill it out and let's get started on your financial freedom.
Realize short-term goals (1 year or less) versus long-term goals (1 year or more). Make a list for each one.
Example of my LONG-TERM goals...
Some people prefer to break their goals down into categories such as spiritual (like reading your bible daily or setting a goal of going to church more), financial (paying off debts or saving money), physical (diet & exercise), & material (buying assets such as a car or house).
Highlight the one you're currently working on to keep it top of mind. Every day look at your goal list and work on your top priorities.
We can figure out what our priorities should be by making a checklist.
As you are making your list, keep a few important questions in mind. What kind of life would I like to live? What actions will it take for me to reach my goals? Am I being realistic?
When your list is finished, it is time to put things in perspective. Reorder the list in order of importance.
Not sure what should come first? I have some tips listed below.
Crossing the Finish Line
Many of us have the same goals; get fit, buy a house, or start a business. These are general goals but which one should come first?
To make a priority list, we first need to figure out what is most important.
Many people change their priorities as a reaction to external circumstances, as an emotional response, or because they get tired of working toward other goals.
This is why it is so important to write them down and look at your goal sheet often.
Goals can eventually become obsolete when we realize it will take hard work and dedication to make it happen. Remember, our mindset is the problem. We need to change the way we think and stay focused on one thing at a time.
Our minds tend to make things a priority only when it seems easy to reach our goal. Our minds kick against anything that takes self-discipline or that seems hard.
This is why it is important to not get in a hurry. We may not see overnight results but that doesn't mean we will not reach our goals.
Consistency is key.
Self-discipline is like a muscle, it can be developed over time. Force yourself to be disciplined and eventually, your actions will turn into a habit.
Positive habits are created intentionally. Think of it like a workout at the gym. The more you go, the stronger you get.
What is most important? The way to figure this out is to see if there is anything that depends on certain other things being done first.
For example, you may want to get healthy, but to do that you must first lose weight. You may want to buy a house, but first, you must get your credit score up and save some money.
Most goals can be reached.
When it comes to financial goals, don't get flakey and try to reach all of your goals at once. This will not work. Instead, get focused on your top goal. Knock that out and your money will be freed up for the next goal.
Dreams don’t happen by being lazy. We have to get a grip, get up, do the work, save the money, use the budget, pay the debts, and work our way up.
It might take hard work, but if you will be consistent, push through the temptation to 'spend' your money, and stay focused, your dreams can come true.
Consistency is blessed!
We tend to give up on long-term goals when our selfish desires get in the way. We want what we want right now, rather than waiting and keeping things in perspective.
Think about what is at the top of your priority list. How much are you willing to sacrifice so that you can live the life you dream of?
Make a list. Set a budget. Work on one thing at a time. Keep at it until it’s accomplished. I encourage you to stay focused!