Many people don’t take the time to sort out what they believe in. Because of this, we often feel conflicted when deciding how to make regular choices about time, money, and personal decisions within our lives and our careers.
If you’re ready to bring some direction and clarity to your life, don’t miss out on this post as well as the 2 others before this one to explore your true values.
In the first post, I wrote about Steps 1-5 on how to clarify your values. In the second post, I wrote about Steps 6-10 on how to use your values as a guide for your life. In this third post, I will write about the last steps on how to live according to your values.
Step 11: Put Your Knowledge To The Test To Bring Direction Clarity To Your Life
After you have completed steps 1-10, now is the time to put your knowledge to the test.
Spend the next 24 hours paying close attention to everything you do and record how it made you feel. Use these categories if you’d like:
___made me feel good
___made me feel bad
___made me feel useful
___made me feel admired
___made me feel disliked
At the end of your day, notice which themes came up. Then develop a short response about your findings. Finally, answer if your results were in line with the values you’ve identified so far.
Once you have done this, you have put everything you have learned about your core values to the test. This way you can check whether the values you choose beforehand are authentic to you.
Step 12: Be Sure To Check-In
To keep your values on top of mind, make it a habit to affirm them regularly. To do this, you need to practice some mindfulness to tune into your emotions. Mindfulness is something that we as a Western society are still getting accustomed to.
If you’re new to checking in with your emotions, begin with triggers - like when you do something nice for a stranger, you’ll feel good, or if you allow someone to overstep a personal boundary, you’ll feel hurt.
Once you get more comfortable with these triggers, you’ll be able to start tapping into your mind and emotions more often. This will allow you to attach your actions to your values and stay in tune with how your values are guiding your life.
Test this out by complimenting a stranger or doing a good deed and taking a moment to feel the emotions that interaction creates. Warm and fuzzy? Something else?
Step 13: Be Aware Your Values Might Change
As you move through your life and your career, the words you choose to describe your values might change, and that’s okay.
Values that suited you well in your 20s very well may change when you get to your 60s.
What made sense to you as a single person might not make sense once you’ve found a partner.
What you thought was important as an independent person will likely shift if you become a parent.
Think back to what kind of person you were ten years ago. What values have changed since then?
Final Thoughts On Living Authentically
Your core values play a huge part in how you decide to live your life, and if you ever find yourself in a funk - feeling stressed, ill, or generally uneasy for some time - then it’s probably time to revisit your value set and look into whether your actions are in tune with your values.
To do this, focus on YOUR values rather than the values that others have led you to believe are important.
Write down your values as you have them now and keep that list in a place that is regularly visible to you. Perhaps these words act as your phone screensaver, or maybe it’s a note that you attach to your fridge or tuck into a small picture frame on your work desk.
Once you start living by your values, you’ll find that your life will start shifting in wonderful ways - you won’t keep holding on to thoughts and actions that no longer serve you because you’ll have a clearer path about where you’re headed.
Although these feelings likely won’t rush in all at once, I hope that you’ll soon start to feel more connected to the actions you take on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.