If You Prioritize Your Have To’s, You’ll Be in Good Shape

The amount of advice out there with regards to achieving your goals, living your best life, and doing things the way you should be doing them is overwhelming.  In fact this very site is one that offers such advice.  Notice I never said that you had to do things the way that I do them.  Rather, I just like to share examples of how I do things so that you can decide for yourself how you want to live and approach your life. However, if there’s one foundation that I would prioritize over any when it comes to how you spend your time, it would be to prioritize your “have to’s.”

What is a “have to?”

Have you ever heard the term “core values” when it comes to business?  Here’s a broad definition:

The core values of an organization are those values we hold which form the foundation on which we perform work and conduct ourselves. … The values underlie our work, how interact with each other, and which strategies we employ to fulfill our mission. The core values are the basic elements of how we go about our work.

In other words when a business is started they establish a set of “core values” from which to operate their business.  The key of this business is to always stick to this crucial set of values.  While the business may change over time, the core values are always required to stay intact.  It’s one of the most popular tenets of any successful business.   You may evolve, and you should involve, but your core values or mission must always remain the same.

Can you change your core values?

I’d argue that core value can be modified but ideally it shouldn’t be changed.  These valued should essentially be set in stone indefinitely.   For example when I was in my 20s I didn’t have a family that I had to support.  A core value of mine may have been to get the most out of my life in college.  That meant tending to my friends, my social obligations, relationships, etc etc.  But what happens after college?  That core value gets modified.  While I still think it’s crucial to tend to my friends and loved ones as well as social obligations, it’s not nearly the same environment as when I was in college.   These days it’s more family oriented.

Core values in life act just like business

When it comes to life, a core value operates exactly how one would in a business.  While the life around you and the way you operate may evolve over time, it’s your job to stick to your core values day after day, month after month, and year after year to maximize the experiences in your life as well as to be the best person you can be from a mental and physical perspective.

What are my core values?

These certainly don’t have to be the same for you but for me, I generally tend to the same things day in and day out.  These things are having the best family I can (which includes being the best father, husband, uncle, etc etc I can be), being in the best mental shape I can, being in the best physical shape I can, having a career I enjoy, and finding meaning in my leisure time.

While this is a pretty broad list, it’s very succinct.  There are five things on this list that will never change.  How I tend to these five “pillars” can change over time but the pillars never change.

A “have to” must adhere to a core value

Once you know your core values, how you go about your day should be as follows:  Take care of your “have to’s” first.  Once you’re done with those, do whatever the hell you want.  In other words prioritize those things in your life that will support, maintain, and improve the core values of your life on a daily basis.  Let’s go through a couple examples in my life.

Having the best family – each day I need to make sure I spend time with my kids.  Each day I need to make sure I’m communicating with my wife.  Each day I need to know I’m listening to my loved ones.  The list goes on and on.  And it’s not as if you need to do all of the above, all the time, to maintain a core value.  You just need to make sure you’re consistent and are tending to all at some point or another.

My business – this is a core value within a core value.  My career is a core value of my life but my business itself has core values.  It’s my job each day to do the tasks required to stick to those core values.  Those tasks are primary and must be done first.  When those are done?  That’s when I can let my mind wander and explore.

If you stick to your have to’s first in your day and make sure those adhere to your core values, you’ll have a very solid foundation for a great life.

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