A year ago, my husband and I were at a crossroads. We had returned from living in Mexico for 7 months, anticipating going back in a few months. Yet, while in the States we became fully aware of my parents’ health and the need for extra care.
How we used our priorities to make a decision quickly
As we sat down one Sunday morning to discuss our next steps, we opened up a document that we had created just the year prior. There were three sections to this document: Non-negotiables, Most Important, and Important. In each section, we listed 3-5 priorities that belonged in that section for us as a couple.
Little did we know when we created this document the prior year, how important it would become as we made decisions.
That Sunday morning, as we sat down to discuss our next steps, we glanced at the document. It became very clear to us within seconds what our next step was – all based on just a few words in the non-negotiables section of the document.
Instead of us having this long-drawn-out discussion, which is what I was expecting, it was clear to both of us within a matter of seconds what the next step was. Actually, we did end up having a long discussion, but it was about the logistics of carrying out the decision we had just made.
Making a priority list
You see, we had spent time the previous year, as we traveled across the States, to determine what our priorities would be in this new season we were entering. Because we had taken the time over a 7-10 day period discussing our life experiences, what those experiences and our responses to them told us about ourselves, and how we wanted to live out our lives going forward, we were able to come up with this list of what is important to us. And, in hindsight, we had no idea how essential that list would become. We continue to refer to that list when decisions need to be made.
By the way, every time we go back to that document, neither of us are quite comfortable with the titles of the 3 different sections: Non-negotiables, Most Important, Important. But, neither of us yet know what to change them to. So, we leave the titles as they are for now.
Priorities guide our decisions
We used this list in making other major decisions – like whether or not to buy a house in another state and move there, where to place our resources after selling two homes, what kind of car to buy, what things to get rid of, etc. And, we anticipate that this document will continue to guide us in future decisions.
To make this even clearer, let’s look at how we used the document when we were deciding whether or not to buy a house in a different state.
At this point, we were ‘homeless’. We had just sold our home in Colorado. We planned to spend some time in Mexico over the winter months, but were open to checking out other areas in the States to live.
We found a house in North Carolina we really liked. It was on the water. It provided a different kind of lifestyle that we both would enjoy. It provided lots of space for family and friends to come and visit. We liked the home and the property. It even had a boat hangar and dock. It would be a great spot for relaxing and getting our creative juices flowing. Plus, it had a seperate area for guests to stay, if they wanted to be separate from the main house. And, it was near a small town that we loved. It was very appealing to us…and tempting.
After looking at several houses that day, with this one being our favorite, we returned to our hotel room.
The next day, each of us spent time separately writing down the pros and cons. One of us did the pros and cons of purchasing the home. The other one did the pros and cons of not purchasing the home. We talked through our lists with each other, then compared the pros and cons to our priority list.
Again, it became clear to both of us that now was not the time to invest our resources in a home in another state. It wouldn’t match up to our priorities at the moment.
Creating your priority list
By taking the time now to define what is important to you – what your priorities are – making decisions becomes so much easier.
What is your priority list for the season you are in?
Write down what’s important to you. Spend time evaluating your priorities against each other. Are some more important in this season than others? It may require discussions with your partner or close friend.
Planning the next step is not easy. Fortunately, your priority list will help guide you to the right decisions for you.
See Also: How to Make Objective Decisions