What Really Matters – How Doing Less Makes it All Better

Figuring out what really matters to you doesn’t have to be rocket science.  Let’s discuss how to identify the things and people that have the most meaning in your life and how to increase your happiness.

What really matters is something everyone should take the time to identify and capitalize upon.  It’s the people, events, work, and even the way you spend your time each day that contribute to who you are, what you value, and what brings you happiness.

Who are the important people in your life?  What do you prioritize in your day-to-day?  What makes you happy?  These are some of the questions we will address as we discuss how to identify what matters the most to you and leaves you fulfilled.

What does “What Really Matters” actually mean?

Definition of “What Really Matters”

 “What really matters” is defined as those things that are significant or most important.  It is highly individualized, subjective, and can change over the course of a person’s life. 

What really matters to a person depends greatly on who they are and their beliefs and morals. It’s what gives people purpose and makes them thrive in life. Doing what really matters can contribute to someone’s overall happiness and satisfaction in life.

A couple enjoying a vacation - What Really Matters - How Doing Less Makes it All Better - Gone Minimal
A couple enjoying a vacation

Questions that Help Determine What Really Matters

How Do I Figure Out What Really Matters the Most to Me?

This can be difficult to do when you’re busy.  But think about this: is what’s keeping you busy really important to you?  Let’s discuss some ways to help you figure this out:

  1. What are your priorities?  Why do you believe you were put on this planet?  What are you passionate about?
  2. What’s your plan?  Do you want to finish your education?  Do you want to repair a relationship?  Do you desire a new career?
  3. What are you focusing on now?  Are you multitasking?  What would you prioritize if you had to?
  4. Do you say “yes” to everything?  If given the option, what would you say “no” to?  When you say “yes”, does it fit with your priorities, your life goals, your passion?

What Is the Best Thing In Your Life?

Think about all of the things that make you happy or bring you joy.  What makes you smile?  What do you think about the most?  And there doesn’t have to be just one thing!  But if it leaves you feeling fulfilled, brings a smile to your face, or makes your day it could just be the best thing in your life.  Find it and dedicate more time to it.

What Do I Value Most in Life?

Think about all of the things that are important to you.  Family, friends, home, car, job, hobbies-these are usually at the top of most people’s lists.  We value things because they may do one or more of the following:

  • Pay the bills
  • Keep us and our family/friends safe
  • Make us happy
  • Get us where we want to go (physically and metaphorically)
  • Create joy in us and/or others
  • Make us feel sorrow when lost

You can create a list of those things that are important to you and rank them to help identify what has the most personal value.  You never know-you might learn something new about yourself.

What Do You Most Want to Get Out of Life?

Once you identify what you value most in life, you can start figuring out what you want most.  This is very individualized, but there are many common themes.  Sometimes it’s to own your own business or be your own boss.  For others it’s to travel the world and see as much as they can.  Or reaching the top of their career ladder and becoming famous.  Many are happy to have and raise their own families.  What do you want to get out of life most?

Who Is the Most Important Person in the World?

The most important person in the world is the one who means the most to you, inspires you, or pushes you to do more and be your best self.  Sometimes it’s the one you spend the most time with.  It could be your parents, or your children.  It may be your best friend.  Maybe even your pets-and that is for you to figure out.  How do you do this?  Start with whom you know and spend the most time with.

How Can I Know What I Love to Do?

You have to do something first to figure out if you love it or not.  You probably even have to do it several times before coming to that decision.  Trying new things can be fun-we learn, grow, and gain experience, which contributes to who we are.  Once you figure out who you are this can help you find out what you love to do.  You may try and fail, try and succeed, or try and try again.  But we never know until we try something if we will love to do it or not.


For Happiness , Focus on the 3 Core Values


Integrity is defined by honesty, morality, and staying true to yourself and your values through your actions.  Practicing integrity means you are consistent and honest when working with others, including personal relationships.  This prevents inner conflict, which is extremely important to happiness.


Courage is doing something despite the fact that it is new, foreign, scary, different, or challenging.  It’s venturing out and trying new things, learning and growing as a person.  Courage gives us the strength to persevere through difficult times and come out on the other side. 


Impartiality or fair-mindedness is basing decisions on objective experiences, rather than taking sides of one thing over another.  This practice prevents discrimination, supports and benefits all to some degree, and aids in equality.  

The 5 Most Important Things in Life

ItemBenefitWhy It Matters
FamilyRelatives (Parents, siblings, etc.) who created who you are today.It’s the foundation of how you live, what you value, as well as your moral code and ethics.
FriendsThe people around you who created who you are today.It’s the foundation of how you live, what you value, as well as your moral code and ethics.
LoveThose who bring you happiness, support you, help you grow and be grateful.Support, growth, life.
Your PurposePhilanthropy, helping others, creating, the reason you get out of bed.Motivation, goals, what creates meaning in your life.
HealthBetter life, mental well-being, stability, happiness.Disease prevention, wellness promotion, physical activity, diet-promotes feeling good, looking good, saves time and money.

Helpful Insights:

Focus on Things that Matter

Determine What Things You Value the Most About Your Life.

Think about what’s important to you and you value the most in your life.  Create a list and figure out why you value those things.  Are they physical things or people?  Or are they thoughts, practices, and beliefs?  How can you ensure you will maintain these things as your priorities?  Practice mindfulness when it comes to the things you value to continue to bring value and happiness to your life.

Decide What Commitments Are Most Important to You.

Whether it is your job, your spouse/partner, your hobbies, you decide the commitments that are important to you.  Identify those relationships and commitments that support you and your lifestyle.  If you strive for a different lifestyle, re-evaluate your work commitments and decide if it’s time to pursue something different.  If it brings you joy, it needs to be a priority-especially if it’s your spouse/partner.    

Assess the Way You Use Your Time.

Whether you work full time or part time, in an office or otherwise, use your time wisely.  Identify the time wasters like menial tasks, social media, and behaviors like procrastination and over/under planning that prevent you from using your time efficiently.  If what you’re doing takes up too much time, does not contribute to your happiness or success, or can be done by someone else then make those changes!  This way you can spend more time doing the things that are important to you.

Get Rid Of Clutter in Every Area of Your Life.

Sort through those papers on your work desk and clear out your closets.  Donate the things you haven’t used in 6 months or have a garage sale.  And this isn’t limited to the boxes in your closet or the papers on your desk!  Let go of that grudge you hold against your old college roommate.  That one friend who always demands your time and never returns the favor?  Reevaluate the friendship and have a conversation with them.  Yes-people can clutter your life too.

Family making dinner together - What Really Matters - How Doing Less Makes it All Better - Gone Minimal
Family making dinner together

Spend More Time With the People That Matter to You.

Think about all of the people in your life-family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.  Then evaluate who makes you happy, helps you, supports you, and adds something of value to your life.  Prioritize your time, dispose of the clutter, and make the time to spend with them-you will add more to their lives in return.

Make Time to Be Alone.

One of the best ways to figure out what really matters to you is to spend time alone with YOU.  Practice mindfulness to identify your thoughts, emotions, values, morals, dreams, and so on.  Meditate to center your spirit and calm your soul.  You may even find that what really matters to you is your alone time.

TED Talks to Inspire Thought

What Really Matters at the End of Life – Dr. B.J. Miller

An inspiring look at life from the aspect of a palliative healthcare provider who overcame suffering and a life-altering event to assist others in thinking about life and death.

How to Live Passionately, No Matter Your Age – Isabell Allende

A motivational speaker who shares her ideas with people of all ages to help with living life to the fullest, with passion.

Nature. Beauty. Gratitude – Louie Schwartzberg

Time-lapse photography paired with music and thoughtful words to help you meditate and practice gratefulness.

Want to be Happy? Be Grateful – David Stendl-Rast

A lesson from a monk to inspire you to slow down, observe your life, and be grateful in order to be happy.

Finding what really matters doesn’t need to be difficult. 

Finding what really matters doesn’t need to be difficult.  Take a look at your life and everything in it.  Use the steps and techniques discussed to identify what brings your life purpose, makes you happy, challenges you and helps you grow.  Whether it’s people, places, animals, or belongings-everyone has things that matter the most to them.  Find those things and prioritize them to be more grateful and happy.

Other Resources:

What Does the Bible Say About What Really Matters in Life?

The Bible tells us that trust, courage, compassion, humility, poverty, generosity, remembrance, and justice are the values that matter most in life.  Being like the Lord and honoring his wishes gives us courage and strength throughout our lives.

How Do I Find Out What Am I Really Good At?

What are your strengths?  What motivates you?  What skills do you have?  Do you have any natural talents?  What do you enjoy doing?  If you asked your friends and family-what would they say you’re good at?  Answering these questions can help you find out what you’re good at.

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