Many of us can get so caught up in the ‘busyness’ of life that we may not invest much time or thought into getting crystal clear on what’s really important to us. Having a lack of clarity on what matters to us and what we truly want can cause us to aimlessly drift through life without direction, which can trigger a sense of feeling ‘lost’.
Every few months I choose to take a step back and review what I value most, doing so helps me to make better decisions and lead a more fulfilling lifestyle.
Here are 4 reasons why:
1) Values can help us in challenging times
Often when we face challenges, many of us may automatically shift into our default ways of coping with situations rather than taking time to reflect on ways that we could resolve them differently, which are also in alignment with our values.
As an example, let’s say you were clear that one of your top values was to be a supportive parent to your child and you were also going through the process of a divorce. The choices and decisions you would make to be a supportive parent would directly influence how you choose to handle the divorce. Maybe you would strive to have an amicable separation in order to avoid upsetting your child and stay aligned to this value. Whereas if you weren’t consciously aware that this was a top value to you, maybe whilst going through the divorce you would react from a space of bitterness or resentment which could make the situation more difficult and create a different outcome.
When you get clear on your values, it can make the decision-making process easier and help you to keep things in perspective when treading troubled waters.
2) Values can keep you on track
Knowing our values assists us in behaving in ways which remain in alignment with them. For example, if one of your top values is ‘health’, then maybe you’ll avoid eating an unhealthy diet, maybe you’ll take relevant vitamins or commit to exercise a couple of times a week.
If one of your top values is to run your own business, maybe you’ll choose to invest in relevant training or mentoring to support you in achieving that goal. Being clear on your values can also force you to reflect on how you’re demonstrating them. If for example, health is a top value, are you leading a healthy lifestyle? What actions are you taking to match your values? When we know what our values are, the choices we make become clearer.
3) Values enhance decision making
When were indecisive or confused, often it can be the result of not being a hundred percent sure of what we want. When you’re clear on your values, it makes the decision-making process a lot easier. If one of your top values is to spend time with your family, committing to a job which may require you to frequently travel or work extra hours may not line up with that value. But if your value was career advancement, this opportunity could be perfect for you. Knowing your values leaves room for clarity.
4) Values help you to feel balanced
Usually, if you’re feeling off ‘balance’, it can come from living with conflicting values. Knowing your values can help you to connect with your inner voice and understand what makes you tick. When you’re living in alignment with your values, you’ll feel more centred and at peace with the world around you, which can help you to lead a balanced lifestyle.
When you know your values, you’re able to separate yourself from situations which may no longer serve you. To get some clarity on your values, you can try this exercise:
Write a list of everything you want (e.g. success, love, security)
Look at your list of desires, and ask yourself – ‘If i could have only one of these qualities, which would it be? And mark that as 1, then ask yourself ‘If I could only have two of these qualities what would they be?’ and mark that as 2. Continue to ask yourself this until you have listed 6-7 of your top values.
NOTE: Only list the values which are yours, not the ones you feel you should put on your list.
Write these values on a separate piece of paper and with each value, ask yourself the following questions:
How would I like each of these areas of my life to look?
What do these areas of my life currently look like?
Are my goals and actions in alignment with these values?
What could I do to improve these areas of my life?
What do I need to make this happen?
When we devote our energy into un-ravelling the mystery of what is truly important to us, we make choices which help us to live a life which is congruent with what makes us happy, feel more in sync with who we are and have clarity on the path ahead.
Living in a way that reflects one’s values is not just about what you do, it is also about how you do things.