Much to the disappointment of the ambitious, we can’t do it all. So, the best way to set ourselves up for success is to make sure we’re doing the right things at the right time. Being mindful and evaluating our behavior helps us decide what’s most important so we can invest our resources beneficially.

Setting priorities and expectations serves us best when it is a fluid process. Life is unpredictable, and in many situations strength is not as important as flexibility. Resolutions serve as an effective starting point for our journey; as that journey progresses, we can check in with ourselves, adjust to obstacles, and change the path to success.

Consider this example:

Melinda wanted to improve her time management. Specifically, she wanted to accomplish everything on each day’s to-do list. As the CEO, Melinda had a lot of responsibilities. She was also the go-to person for many employees, whose interruptions sometimes frustrated her since they impeded her productivity. Everything on Melinda’s to-do list was important and she couldn’t get it all done.

Melinda tried several time management strategies but her efforts to prioritize her time proved ineffective. When she examined her beliefs and thoughts about the situation, she reached these conclusions:

  1. Having an open door policy was essential to being the leader she wanted to be.
  2. Some of the tasks on her list could be done by other people, but she didn’t trust them.
  3. To get enough time for sleep, family and personal needs, she needed to limit her office time to 10 hours per day.
  4. The work she assigned to herself had to get done.

These insights helped Melinda identify that her priorities to be accessible to her team and have enough time outside of work required her to do less. She had to lower the expectation she had set for herself. Since the work was essential, Melinda determined that she would need to delegate more of it to her subordinates. She planned time to explain the new responsibilities to each effected staff member as well as a time to follow up with them and make adjustments if needed.

In the above situation, Melinda’s goals were achieved after she looked beyond changing behavior to the underlying thoughts and beliefs that drove it.

What you can do thrive: Ask, “What is most important right now?” at various times during the year. Adjust your goals when your priorities shift and make your actions meaningful.

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