Identifying What Matters to You

focus fulfillment happiness personal growth Oct 07, 2022

What matters to you? Some say their family, their job, and others still have their religion or a favorite hobby. No matter what someone says is most important to them, there is always something that they would put above everything else. For some people, that may be their children; for others, it might be their country or a loved one. Ultimately, what matters to each individual varies significantly from person to person. However, it is always important to identify what those things are so that we can focus our lives around them and make sure they remain a priority. Identifying what matters to you is the first step on the road to living a truly fulfilling life.

What are the essential things in your life?

You may have already heard from others or read articles that the essential things in life are not fame, material possessions, or money but rather things that cannot be easily replaced, such as family, friends, memorable experiences, and time. While this is true and applicable to many people, what truly matters for each person can vary per individual. What gives happiness and fulfillment can be different for each of us. So we must identify the things that matter to us as they can provide more direction and meaning to our lives. For all you know, you may already be doing something that leads to what matters the most to you; it's just you only need clarity to bring into the spotlight what they are. The following are some signs and things you can do to indicate what truly matters in your life.

1. You feel happy and fulfilled from doing something

Happiness and fulfillment are a big deal for us humans. Without them, we feel lost and unmotivated in life. The things and activities that give us these feelings differ for each person. So if you are looking for what matters to your life, determine the things that make you feel fulfilled and happy. You may already be doing them and don't notice, or perhaps you still need to look for them. Try getting involved in various activities and see what can give you such feelings.

2. You dedicate time to doing something

Hobbies and passions can be the two things that serve as driving forces in your life. You enjoy doing them and invest a significant amount of time in them. However, there is a difference between the two in terms of time investment. Hobbies are activities that you do to pass the time, and it's okay for you if you can't do them on a particular day, maybe because you got too busy. On the other hand, passions are activities you make time to do, regardless of how busy you can be in a day. It's as if you can't live without doing your passion every day, even for just a few minutes. There's a deeper emotional investment and purpose when doing your passions, which signifies things that matter to you the most.

3. Look back at the past

When you are still a child and teenager, you most probably have enjoyed various activities and things that give you pleasure and fulfillment. However, as you grow old and have more responsibilities and work, you might have relegated what you used to enjoy on the sidelines or maybe even forget about them entirely. If you are searching for something that matters in your life, it won't hurt to try digging back into the past and doing the things again you used to enjoy. It might trigger some positive feelings in you and awaken a passion.

4. Look at your priorities and values in life

If faced with a situation where you have to make the difficult decision of choosing only one thing that you will prioritize over others, what will your answer be? This kind of situation can be something that can happen in real life, or it can be just a hypothetical question. Events where you have to make wise decisions of choosing one over the other can make you realize what you prioritize and value in life. Of course, you don't need to put yourself in moral dilemmas or life-threatening situations to know what matters to you. It's possible to get an idea of what matters by asking yourself hypothetical questions, such as what you will do if you have all the time and money in the world. Your priorities and values in life will show during such situations.

5. Find something that can be irreplaceable in your life

One way to determine what matters to you is to figure out what things in your life are irreplaceable or cannot get replaced quickly. These can be in the form of memories and experiences that are unique to you. They can be events you spend time with important people in your life, such as friends and family. The treasured people in your life are unique, and nobody else can replace their personality and traits that matter to you. Your job can also be precious because it's not something one can easily find again should you lose it someday. Look for these irreplaceable things in your life, which can be the ones that matter most and where you should spend most of your time and effort.

6. Minimize the number of things you do each day

People like to get busy and do many things at once. However, if you take the time to pause and analyze everything we do, some of them may be unimportant, but we get so used to doing them that we forget why we do them in the first place. So if you were to narrow your daily schedule to do only a few things, what would they be? Please make a list of your daily priorities, and the activities that appear on top of your to-do list are the ones that hold the most significant value to you, maybe because they have an urgent deadline or factor heavily into your goals. In the longer term, also look at what appears on top of things that you need to accomplish, and chances are these are the things that matter to you, such as goals that will give you the most fulfillment and happiness.

Stay focused on what matters.

When you know what matters most, you gain more clarity and direction on where you should go in life and what to pursue. Then, of course, we can go from one thing to another to amuse ourselves and keep busy, but we may feel lost after some time. However, taking time to know yourself and figuring out what is essential can put you back on track. The things that matter the most serve as an anchor to pull us in the right direction. And sometimes, all it takes to identify what is essential to us are our gut feeling that we are doing something right, and we feel excited doing them.

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