What does your work-life balance look like these days? Are your priorities jumping all over the place? Is your to-do list turning into a storybook that’s ending in happily ever tired? It feels fitting to unwrap some insight into nurturing our priorities as the holiday season approaches. If you are looking to manifest more joy and kindness at holiday gatherings, nurturing your priorities might be a gift you can give yourself this coming season!
What’s in a list? Making a list can bring attention to your desires, decisions, self-worth, gratitude, memories - the list is endless. Perhaps you’ve found yourself making a list because too much has landed on your plate or you’ve decided to load more on it. What’s your list style? Do you snowball five extra things attempting to get the list done and then create a new list that runs over into the season? Do you check off each task one by one in systematic accuracy leaving no allowance for some last minute invites and plans into your life? Registered Dietitian, Emily Campbell, suggests a brief action plan of looking at one thing we can do in a short time frame to put us on the path towards progress. She explains, “they should be things that are achievable so that we can develop the skills and see the feedback to change behavior. We have a lot of things to do in our day and often when we want to make health changes, like meal planning or cooking at home, or doing more physical activity we have to block that time and make ourselves the priority. That’s a big shift.’
Try connecting your list style to your relationship style. Are you asking for assistance when your list is growing, or going about it all on your own? It can take practice to feel comfortable asking or receiving time and effort from others. The benefits in holiday collaboration can make knocking a few things off your holiday list more fun and creative! Do you celebrate completing a big project, a goal or catching up to life? Experts agree, making a list can be beneficial, and they can also be pieces of stressors. Knowing when to take your energy elsewhere is foundational to work-life balance and this includes your responsibilities. Taking a break from your list is setting healthy boundaries for yourself. It will faithfully be there when you get back to it. Not adding to your list can set a healthy boundary with others. Emily suggests tracking your progress, making lists and bringing the fun into it. “It’s important for us to celebrate our successes. It depends what we think the reward is. We want a reward to also reflect what our goal is. Self care, a bubble bath, a nice expensive coffee. We don’t want to choose something that is going to derail us.” Her favorite advice for clients is ‘progress, not perfection’ and this advice blends into your relationships as well!
Personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition. Your qualifications are not your life. - J.K. Rowling
Nurturing your priorities is a natural confidence booster. The most common priorities I experience with clients are relationships, goals, emotional balance, self-worth, career and finances, and spirituality. Priorities are always changing and range from big life decisions and to juggling daily life. Priority lists can give insight into how you organize your life and generate a mental map of what is important to you in the now. These visual insights come in all shapes and sizes and have been used by top business coaches for decades. In my training and courses I have created lists using triangles, rectangles, circles and squares. I have folded, stacked, pulled cards, coloured and even created my own greeting card to seal up and send to myself. Depending on my life circumstances and chapters, my priorities have shifted. Adapting to change can be no easy task. Emily explains helping her clients with priorities “looks like showing them small behavior changes that they can do that make a big difference. I use the SMART acronym (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound) when making changes and making priorities because the more specific we get with what our health priority is, we need to be specific about what those behavior changes are going to be”.
Action expresses priorities. Mahatma Gandhi, Social Activist & Leader
A priority exercise can help you stay on track when you are juggling too many tasks. Noticing how many shifts you are creating daily can help you notice how well you can stay on task. I use a priority ‘shelf’ with clients for more present focus and positivity into the energy of completion. The goal of the shelf is to maintain well-being, put yourself first and notice any topple happening. Topple starts when something, or someone interrupts your priority. Emily explains, “When we are setting new priorities for health changes, the first shift I notice is that we begin to put ourselves first. When we make more time for what we would like to do then that becomes our priority.”
Procrastination is a gift of curiosity when it comes to nurturing priorities. It can be a big clue the task is too difficult or signal we need to ask more questions to move forward. Holding off on a task could also be a message that what you are doing might not be part of your current alignment. Emily explains procrastinating “when our goals are not aligned with what behaviour we want to change or that the goal is not realistic.
If we can make any small improvement each day, at the end of the year we will be 365 times better. - Emily Campbell, Registered Dietitian
When we want to work on eating more at home and we decide we are going to meal prep for 7 days, that's not always realistic. We might have to work late or there’s an outing we have to go to. When those unrealistic expectations derail us, that doesn’t support our changes.’ She suggests doing easier tasks first when working towards a goal or nurturing a priority. “We always try to go from 0 to 100. We don’t set up small incremental changes that show us we can be successful. It helps us build up some confidence and see our progress.”
Next time you have that feeling of lingering procrastinating energy, a gutsy coaching step is to get curious here. Changing up your expectations or actions might be the answer you are looking for. Those holiday gifts you are looking to purchase and wrap might be turning into new experiences and getaways. Perhaps they might spark new traditions, new people into your gatherings or a new item on the holiday menu. Emily adds, “It is breaking down a lot of the priorities into bite size pieces so that we can digest each thing and to make sure that we are setting expectations that allow us to prioritize what’s important. Rome was not built in a day and health changes can’t happen that quickly either. When we are feeling overwhelmed it is often working with health care providers that can help support your journey.”
The energy of compassion plays a big part in nurturing your priorities. Making sure they are balanced between yourself and your loved ones can be an overwhelming juggling act at times. Checking in with two handy coaching questions: Am I doing my best? What do I need right now? The answer just might be the one thing that gets you motivated to tackle that lingering item on your list. Nurturing your priorities can help you show up in the present, share kindness, joy and create lasting memories this holiday season.
Ginny Connon is a certified Relationship & Life Coach. Her sessions are tailored to your relational needs and include her training in emotional energy healing work. Fifteen years with Skate Canada as a certified CanSkate Coach, she specializes in coaching balance on and off the ice.
Tracing back to her broadcasting roots, look for Ginny’s Podcast ‘222’ coming out in early 2024. She has put it high on her priority list.
visit www.thegutsycoach.com to discuss your priorities and goals
Emily Campbell is a Registered Dietitian who supports those living with chronic kidney disease to overcome the confusing world of nutrition so they can preserve their kidney function.
Emily can be found at kidneynutrition.ca
Ginny Connon is a Relationship & Energy Coach, Podcaster and Keynote Speaker