“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Roy Disney
Values give us meaning
At the start of the year many of us appraise our professional and personal lives and spend time thinking about what we’d like to achieve for the year ahead. Maybe you’ve resolved to carve out more time in your hectic schedule to spend with family and friends? Perhaps you’ve committed to find a new job or decided to live a more minimalist lifestyle? All of these decisions involve values.
Values are principles, they’re comprised of that which we hold to be important in life. Maybe you’ve never sat down to ask yourself which values you hold most dear but when someone challenges or offends an important value, you’re sure to respond, on an almost instinctive level.
Living your values
When we commit to change, how do we know that our decision is soundly based and likely to motivate us to success? One effective way of checking that your goals are a good fit is to ask yourself, ‘Does this goal align with my values?’ If you’ve never actively considered what your values are, why not spend some time considering the following questions:
- What causes and issues do I feel most strongly about?
- What do these causes and issues have in common? Maybe they all relate to fairness or justice? Perhaps each issue displays your strong love of education, creativity, perseverance or connecting with others?
- Who do you most admire and why? Do you see a pattern in what you admire about others that relates to your core values?
Values and motivation
Check your goals against your values, do they sit well together or is conflict evident between them. Your motivation to stick with a goal is hugely influenced by how aligned your goal is with your core values. Maybe you’re goal is to go all out for a promotion at work but your values are more aligned with having less materially but being able to spend more time on creative pursuits? If your job isn’t tapping into your creative side then this could be a tough goal to follow. You may have a long list of rational reasons to pursue a goal but if there is no emotional, passionate connection with your values embedded in your goal, then when the going gets tough your goal could suffer.
3 reasons to live your values
- We tend to be happier when our goals match our values. When you’re faced with a tough task, knowing that completing it reflects your core values can be the push you need to get you through. Your achievement is all the more satisfying, knowing that it reflects what is truly important to you.
- If we’re happier when we live our values it stands to reason that many decisions will be easier as well easier to live with if your actions reflect your values.
- When you live your values you are the master of your own destiny. Thinking about your core values and intentionally living by them can open up new possibilities and experiences.
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