The Power of Personal Values in Decision-Making

self-care · by Tia Masic
Decoding Your Personal Values. - Hemlock & Oak

Have you ever paused to consider the sheer number of choices you confront daily? From the moment we wake up to the moment we sleep, we're on a continuous journey of decision-making.

These decisions, whether mundane or monumental, are deeply rooted in personal beliefs shaped over the course of our lives. It is said that an adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. Understanding the profound impact of personal values on these choices is critical to navigating life more effectively.

Understanding Personal Values: Personal values are the actions and behaviors we hold most dear, the internal compass that guides us. As children, we absorb the values of our environment, often subconsciously adopting the principles of our caretakers. It isn't until we engage in deliberate self-reflection that we discern which values authentically resonate with us. Studies suggest that the process of identifying and understanding personal values can significantly impact our well-being and life satisfaction.

The Cost of Compromise: Consider a scenario where a loved one falls ill. If familial loyalty is a cornerstone of your upbringing, you may instinctively prioritize caregiving. Yet, this noble act can weigh heavily on your well-being if it conflicts with other personal values, such as self-care or professional growth. Research has shown that conflict between personal and societal values can lead to stress and dissatisfaction.

Boundaries and Better Choices: By aligning with your values, you define the boundaries necessary for balanced decision-making. This clarity empowers you to prioritize actions that harmonize with your beliefs, leading to more fulfilling choices. Psychologists assert that values alignment is instrumental in achieving personal goals and maintaining psychological well-being.

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.

Get my "Decoding your Personal Values" guide!

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!


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