For better or for worse, life gets busy — really busy. And when we’re constantly in “go go go” mode and barely stop to take a breath, it can be easy to lose sight of our top priorities in life.
But what are priorities, exactly, and how do they differ from goals? The dictionary definition of “priority” is “the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important.”
In plain English, that means something is treated with utmost importance and should be placed at the very top of your to-do list. While priorities seem similar to goals at first glance, they’re actually very different. While goals and priorities need to be aligned, goals are bigger picture concepts and ideas.
Examples of goals include “buy a house,” “write a book,” “have a baby,” “get healthier,” the list goes on. You can determine your priorities based on these goals. So for example, if your goal is to buy a house, a priority that aligns with this is “saving money."
Identifying our priorities is essential, because the truth is that you'll never get everything done — but you can get the most important things done. Plus, priorities are an important first step to achieving a goal. So, how can you identify your priorities, and what are some examples of priorities? Here’s everything you need to know.
How to identify your top priorities
The problem with priorities is that even though they should go at the top of our to-do list, they often don’t, and far less important tasks and to-dos drown them out. And this often happens because we don’t know what our priorities are.
The first step to identifying your priorities is identifying your goals, as discussed above. Goals can feel a bit vague sometimes, and priorities help you forge a path to accomplish them.
So, imagine one of your goals is to “get healthier.” That’s a little vague, but coming up with a list of priorities around this goal can help you start actually working toward it. So, if your goal is to get healthier, some priorities might include “exercise,” “eat vegetables” “meditate,” the list goes on.
Examples of priorities
Looking for more concrete examples of what priorities look like? Here’s a list to pull from, and feel free to get more specific based on your own goals and needs.
- Saving money
- Personal growth
- Quality time with family
- Having fun
- Getting enough sleep
- Cleaning the house
- Mental health
- Work-life balance
- Technology-free time
- Quality time with friends
- Spirituality or religion
- Healthy eating