As you reflect on this year, and start thinking about next year, take a breath, and ask yourself this 1 question. Do not put the question into the context of any current challenge you may be facing. Rather look to answer the question without any predisposed answers in your mind.

What are the most important things in my life?

I asked myself that question when I first got separated from my ex-husband. I was laying in my bed in my studio apartment feeling somewhat insecure of my future. At the top of my clean crisp journal page I wrote the question, “What is important to you?” The seven words that immediately came to mind were Financial Security, Spirituality, Family, Friends, Health, Fun, Inner Peace. When I realized there were 7 words, I decided to attach each word to a day of the week. Each day I would do something to keep that priority at the forefront of my mind. This concept has served me well for the past 12 years. This exercise forces me to put in writing my priorities. I immediately start feeling more grounded. Best of all it allows me to feel a renewed sense of clarity. I’ve added one more question that helps me fine tune my priorities even more.

What brings me joy?

Recently I was at a professional crossroad in my life. I was very conflicted as to what path to take. I was internally struggling with what I wanted my life to look like. I asked myself this question and from those answers came a renewed sense of clarity.

That next morning I woke up with a new sense of purpose and determination.

If you are at a crossroad in your life, or if you are looking to start the new year with a renewed sense of purpose try asking yourself these two questions. You will be surprised how clear things come when you answer them honestly and without judgement.

A few things to remember, as your life circumstances change, so do your priorities. Your two lists don’t have to be the same but there may be some overlap. If your list is very long, begin to make categories and slim it down. A good number is anywhere between 5 and 7 words or categories. Your final answers to those two questions will give you the road map to take your next step. Having your priorities as the guide, will undoubtedly help you lead a focused life.