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Setting Life Priorities: Figuring Out What Is Important to You

May 11, 2022 | By Breanna Mackley
Current Students

There are two types of priorities. Short-term priorities include your daily to-dos, such as tasks at school and home, finishing a report, or cooking dinner. However, long-term priorities, or life priorities, are the relationships and activities that make you happy—the things that really matter in life.

Thinking about your priorities
It’s easy to figure out your priorities for the day or week. You generally know what needs to get done and how to do it. But figuring out what’s important to you and learning ways to fit those things into your everyday schedule can be challenging.

The first step is to begin identifying your priorities. You may find it helpful to take a few days to think about your priorities and jot them down as they come up. You may want to spend time with friends or family, take care of your physical health, or excel at school. Write down your priorities to clarify which ones are important to you.

Here are some questions that can help you think about your priorities:

  • What are the big and small things that you want extra time for?
  • How would you spend your time if you could clear your schedule, eliminate many day-to-day demands, and start over?
  • Ask yourself, “Why is making these changes important to me?”

Putting your priorities front and center
To get what you want, you may need to set some goals. This is an effective way of making sure your priorities are achievable and getting to what’s really important in your life.

Start by referring back to the list that you made above. Pick your top five and put them in order. Think about how you could turn your number one priority, or “want,” into a realistic and specific goal. For example, if spending more time with friends is very important to you, you might need to adjust how you spend your time overall and set a goal of seeing friends one evening each week. Keep in mind that it’s easier to work on one goal at a time.

To set achievable goals, use the SMART Method to set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-limited.

Your goals and priorities may change over time as your life changes, but by revisiting the goals you’ve set, you’ll be able to stay on track and make time for the things that are important to you.

Article provided by My Student Support Program (My SSP). Franklin University offers free 24/7 counseling support through the My Support Program (My SSP) to all students and their spouses or domestic partners. Please click here to learn more.