Today’s post is a guest post by my friend and colleague, Addie K .Martin.
At times peace and contentment can feel elusive, especially where there’s so much to do on a day to day basis. I could list these things, but I’m sure you’re all too aware of the myriad of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, and next week. The question becomes how do you find peace amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life? Moreover, how can you find your quiet in the storm? Of course, there are many ways to approach this, but I’ve narrowed it down to what I’ve seen work for myself as well as my clients.
Getting clear on what you want.
Getting crystal clear on what you want out of life or what you want your life to look like is truly the best place to start. Developing a clear vision for your life can take a little time, but it’s time well spent. Once you know what you want your life to look like, it becomes easier to say no to all those things that just keep “popping up.” When you know what you want, contentment is more likely to show up. Otherwise, what are you using as a yardstick for measuring how content you are?
I’ve seen this play out in my own life. Once I became very clear about that fact that I’m a coach and writer, it was easy for me to turn down work opportunities that weren’t in alignment with either of those goals. Further, I’ve applied this principle to my personal life as well. I decided that drama wasn’t going to be a part of my life. To achieve that, I’ve let some old friendships go and put up better boundaries with others, but in the end, it’s been worth it. The mental energy I save is now funneled into building the life that I want. Figuring out what I wanted my life to look like, and then acting in accordance with that, helps peace and contentment flow into my life.
Establish your priorities.
So now that you know what you want your life to look like, it’s time to establish priorities. Decide what’s paramount (important and pressing), what’s important (but not pressing), what’s “nice to do/have,” and what’s not on any of those lists. By prioritizing your life and your commitments, you can find a better balance in the craziness of everyday life. Knowing what’s important helps you garner a sense of peace.
To use another personal example, once I decided that I was a writer and a coach, I made a priority list of my work tasks. I examined each item and each commitment to make sure they received the proper amount of time and attention in my life. This helps me to know how to best spend what precious time I have. It also helps me to know when something can wait, and conversely, when it needs to be done immediately. I feel more at peace when I know that I’ve done the important things, allowing me to put aside what can wait.
Hold yourself accountable.
Inevitably, we can (and likely will) falter, despite our best intentions. Holding yourself accountable is the best way to ensure that if you deviate from your path, it’s not for too long. Time is your most finite asset. Holding yourself accountable on how it’s spent helps you to use it wisely. You can work out an accountability system on your own or find outside assistance. Many people turn to coaches, friends, family members, or close co-workers to help with accountability. The goal is to figure out a system that works for you. You’ll have a better sense of peace and contentment when you know that you’re truly living a life in alignment with your beliefs, values, and priorities.
For me, I use a combination of personal accountability and external accountability. To hold myself accountable personally, I use a task manager for my tasks. This helps me to see what’s on my plate and the deadlines for each item. Being honest and open with myself about all the work that needs to be done allows me to schedule properly.
Checking those boxes means I’ve done the work. On the other hand, it’s nice to have help along the way. I have a couple of life coaches that I work with in various capacities and one of the roles they play for me is on the accountability piece. Knowing that I have to “report” to them helps me to stay on track. Again, I gain a deep sense of inner peace when I know that I’m doing right by myself and what’s important to me.
To close, getting clear on what you want your life to look like and establishing priorities are critical for finding the peace and contentment you’re searching for. When you have better filters through which to make decisions, you free up your time to be spent more
wisely and effectively. Much of the discomfort experienced in life is due to facing an unknown or not being clear on what you want and/or need. Peace and contentment aren’t a destination, attaining them is part of the long and rewarding journey that is life.
Addie K Martin is a writer and creativity coach who helps people lead more fulfilling lives and increase satisfaction in their careers by reconnecting them to their creativity. She blogs regularly at addiekmartin.me, culicurious.com, and culturecurious.net. You can also find her on Twitter at @addiekmartin.