Have you ever thought about how many choices you make in a day?
Your entire life is a series of decisions... and those decisions are deeply rooted in personal beliefs you’ve developed over your life. There are a lot of factors that can influence your decision-making. However, understanding your personal values can help you make better decisions.
Personal values are the actions and behaviours that are most important to us. As we grow up, we often take on the values of those around us. It takes some self-reflection to really understand what’s important to us, and we often don’t make those distinctions until later.
Let’s say someone close to you becomes ill. If you were raised to always be there for your family, you'll unquestionably look after that person. But this could come at the cost of your own well-being, if you don't understand how much your own values matter.
By connecting with your personal values, you'll understand what boundaries you need to set in place for yourself when you make decisions. You'll know what's really important to you and actively make better choices.
When we stick to our values, we feel better about life.
If you think back to the last time you felt content, you were probably doing something important to you. By connecting with our personal values on a daily basis, we can actively avoid things that compromise what's important to us.
But a lot of us don't know our personal values. And even if we do, they are easy to lose sight of when life gets busy.
Here are five signs that your personal values need some TLC:
1. You have troubles making decisions.
And not just the big decisions: the little every-day ones that add up. You know that you should eat healthy, but you choose takeout. That little voice tells you to exercise after work, but you get home and binge Netflix instead. And the big decisions are even worse to make. Those go on the back-burner. It's just too stressful to choose the 'right' decision when you aren't clear on what matters most to you.
2. You feel unhappy.
Let's say you love adventure. Travel is everything to you. New experiences bring you fulfillment. Well, if you've committed your life to a job that works you 10 hours a day and gives you no vacation time, you won't feel happy. This seems obvious at a first glance, but if you don’t understand how much travel means to you, you might resign to staying in your current career.
3. You take on the values of those around you
Are you doing something because your friends are? Do you want more instagram followers because your friend is an influencer? Actions that we take because of those around us can lead to neglecting what we really want.
4. You're constantly stressed.
It feels like life won't take a break. You're spread thin like cream cheese on a bagel. And even while you do SO much, it feels like nothing important to you is getting done.
5. Your priorities are all over the place.
Check emails, errands, drive the kids, do the course homework, and create that huge presentation for work. Oh, and you should look after your health too--- but there’s no time for the gym right now.
When we're out of tune with our values, the important stuff seems to take a back seat. Unfortunately, it usually takes crises to help us snap out of it and reconnect with ourselves. I’m sure we’ve all been there in 2020!
So, how can we connect with our personal values?
Think of the last time you felt happy or fulfilled. What were you doing?
Next, imagine if everything suddenly disappeared. What would you miss the most in your life? Who would you miss the most in your life? Where would you miss being? And most importantly: why?
Your answers say a LOT about your personal values.
I created a little booklet for you to try. It’s only 15 minutes of your time, and it’s totally free.
Honestly, doing these simple exercises changed my life. It’s so much easier to see where my priorities should go. It also helped me understand that while a perfectly ‘balanced’ life is near impossible (something always tends to go out the window), a fulfilling life is VERY possible. I hope you find the same!