When going through the process of setting goals and selecting a Push Goal, I ask readers to choose their key priority – the area of life where they need the most accountability. After selecting a key priority, many people think they must stick to that decision no matter what. But get this…throughout your life, situations may arise that change your course and require a shift in focus. Your key priority (or priorities) that you established when setting your goals, might change, and that’s okay!
It could be something tragic like the death of a family member, an accident or losing your job. Even happy events like winning the lottery, landing that big deal, or finding out you’re pregnant require a re-examination of your “key” priority. No one is going to ask you to tattoo your key priority across your forehead. You can change it any time that life’s events necessitate it.
Your Key Priority must be Flexible like a Tree
You see…there are no hard fast rules when it comes to your priorities. Think of your key priorities like a tree. This area of your focus is strong, sturdy, obvious and ever present, but it has to be flexible. Rigid, inflexible trees are uprooted and die when they refuse to bend. Trees which bow when blown by the brutal force of mother nature will bounce back to their upright position when the storm passes.
The storm is temporary. Think of a temporary “key priority” as the need to “bend” in the wind with the intention of resuming your upright position when the storm passes. Don’t be discouraged if for a moment you need a temporary key priority.
A Real Life Example
Huh? Okay… a real life example. Let’s say that your intrinsic priority — the area of life that comes naturally and needs no accountability — is “Health and Fitness.” You’ve also identified that the area where you need greater accountability and focus, i.e. your key priority is your “Family.”
You decided you’re not happy with this area and you want to do a better job. You know this will boost your happiness when you keep yourself accountable to your family on a daily basis through thought, action, and behavior.
‘Til now you’ve always believed your family was very important, but through introspection, you realize you’ve spent much of your focus on your health and fitness, time volunteering at your church, and not allotted the time to your family that you feel honors what is in your heart.
But suddenly, you realize your financial situation has come to a head. The bills are piling up. You could lose your house, and the stress is affecting everyone. In a situation such as described above, it would only make sense to quickly, and perhaps temporarily shift your “key priority” and focus to your financial situation with the thought and intention that your family is where your key priority will return when this storm passes.
It’s OKAY to Change Your Focus
I meet so many people who express a deep level of confusion and even guilt when they have to temporarily shift their focus. Remember, when you have a plan you have nothing to fear. Provided you give yourself a measure by which you know when you can change focus and return to your intended key priority, you have nothing to fear. Set a measure.
In the example provided above, I would suggest setting a very specific financial measure and include an action plan that allowed you to conquer the storm as quickly as possible. “I’m taking on a full time job for one year to increase my income and reduce our debt. I will limit my volunteer work as those additional hours will need to be spent with my family when I return to work. I’ll create a plan to cut spending, increase our savings and reduce our debt. Once I have paid off all three credit cards and have at least X amount in savings, I will return to working part-time hours.”
When life serves up the unexpected, it’s okay to take a step away from your current key priority and create a temporary key priority to bring you back to equilibrium.
Take into consideration that your key priority and Push Goal may change. So what! You can’t fail. There’s no such thing as failure. It’s all just an experience that allows you to better understand what “not” to do. Just promise me you won’t allow fear of making a mistake to prevent you from moving. Just keep shuffling your feet.