When we’re trying to create a day of purpose it’s important to recognise the unsupportive activities and habits that are taking up our precious time, and getting clear on what we really want to be doing…what really matters. 

It’s a matter of being honest, letting go, and making space. In order to say YES, often we first need to say NO.

Saying NO to say YES

I’ve been choosing YES to more consistent early morning wake ups. This means I need to feel clear enough when I wake at 6 that I can easily bounce out of bed. I also need to feel motivated enough about my day that I really WANT to get up (rather than roll back over, which is something I also really enjoy doing!)

For this to happen, I need to say no to a few things…

  • I need to say no to a large and filling dinner, as well as eating too late
  • I need to say no to evening desert (the kids sometimes want it, still)
  • I need to say no to staying up after 10pm
  • I need to say no to any resistance towards daily exercise
  • I need to say no to the fear and doubt that feed the emotional eating  

Review Your Values and Priorities

Essentially, it’s our values that determine the YES, since our values underlie our priorities.

My morning routine (you can read more about a morning routine here) is a priority of mine because it leaves me feeling good and I value feeling good…if I get up too late, it simply won’t happen. And as you can see from my list of what I need to say no to, I’m saying YES to a lot more than just one priority! I’m also saying yes to a good sleep, better digestion, staying fit (ish), and overcoming the oppression of fear and doubt…that’s a whole lotta YES!

Our values determine how we choose to prioritise our day and the way we interact with the world, but they aren’t necessarily always supportive. Often, we don’t even know what our values are!  So it’s important to consider this.

You can start with your values and work out from there what your priorities are, or you could look first at what is a priority in your life and sort down to the underlying values. Whatever works.

If I know that my priorities are my family and my health then by looking deeper I can see that the values underlying these are connection, trust, honesty, and open communication; feeling good, having enough energy, and reaching my full potential.

When we can get clear on our values, we can more easily begin to hone our actions towards these.

In the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, author Mark Manson talks about some of the more unhelpful values that we can take on, and why it leads to problems. The example he gave was if someone values being liked by others…on the surface it seems like a valid value – we all want to be liked. But the problem here is that the value is dependent on external opinion, and this leaves us at the mercy of others.

A more supportive value might be authenticity. When I’m authentic and true to myself, it doesn’t matter how others respond. And when someone doesn’t like us (because not everyone will), we have the opportunity to acknowledge and heal that part of us that really wants to be liked, knowing we’ve acted in integrity and remained true to ourselves.

It’s a good practice to review your priorities each week. Find a set time that works.  

In addition to my weekly priorities review, I also have a daily reflection practice..

  • 3 things I’m grateful for
  • 3 things I did well (acknowledging myself)
  • 3 things I’m calling in (self-worth)

I’ve taken this practice from the teachings of Matt Kahn…I so appreciate his contributions.

I also look over my to-do list for the next day, and reflect on my day as a whole…what happened, how was I feeling, what didn’t go so well…anything really. It can be helpful to put it on paper.

And again, putting this practice in place meant I needed to make space for it. Because I value clarity and a supportive daily structure, I was able to do it. If this wasn’t a value of mine it likely wouldn’t have made the cut.

Instead, I’d still be flitting from one thing to the next, never really getting anything done and feeling frazzled all the while (this is still me at times, just not so much anymore :))

Priorities and Values
Saying YES and saying NO