Posted by: silverliningsblog | November 25, 2015

Living true to your values

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It’s hard to get somewhere if you haven’t decided what your destination is yet. If you want to live a life you love, you have to get really, really clear on what is important to you.

You know that old adage “you have to know what you want to get what you want?”

Well it’s true. It’s hard to get somewhere if you haven’t decided what your destination is yet. If you don’t choose, you’ll meander around aimlessly, going from one place to another feeling unfulfilled. You’ll feel restless, indecisive and frustrated that you’re not getting what you want.

Because the world doesn’t know what you want. Only you do.

If you want to live a life you love, one that feels fulfilling and joyful, you have to get really, really clear on what is important to you. In other words, you need to know what your values are.

What are values?

“Values are the backbone of life. They are the beacons on our path—in personal life and in business.” –Debra Smouse

Values are those things you believe are most important in life. They are often intangible, like principles (honesty), concepts (health), feelings (love), actions (fitness) and qualities (humour).

Values are based on what matters to you, not on what matters to others. As you look at what you value, it is important to realize that what mattered to your parents, teachers, partners and friends may not be what matters most to you.

Knowing your values will help you:

  • make decisions about career, home, relationships, activities
  • prioritize your time and spending
  • attract the people you want into your life
  • create the lifestyle you want
  • measure how good life is

It will also help you be more authentic in your life and relationships. As you learn what you value and begin to make the choices that align with your values, you will create a new sense of trust with the people you know (and more importantly, with yourself). You (and others) will believe that you will follow through on what you say matters most.

You will finally start walking your talk.

Alignment with your values

“Values serve as a compass so that, day after day, we’re moving closer and closer to our definition of the ‘best’ life we could possibly live.”
–Debra Smouse

Life is good

When you are aligned with your values, life is good. And that’s because you are finally living the life you choose, on your terms, the way you want it to be.

And then something magical happens. As you start being true to your own needs/beliefs/desires, you feel an unmistakeable sense of alignment and rightness in your life. You start to feel the world is working in your favour. You feel joyful and alive. You also feel a sense of peace.

All of this starts to happen because you’re finally listening to yourself, to the inner knowing of your own spirit.

When you are aligned with your values, life is good. And that’s because you are finally living the life you choose, on your terms, the way you want it to be.

If you’re out of alignment, you’ll know. You’ll feel indecisive and stressed, because you have inner conflict about what you are doing in your life and what you actually want. You’ll feel frustrated and cranky that things aren’t “going your way.” You’ll be “too busy” to enjoy yourself. You may get sick as your body tries to signal to you that something is wrong. You’ll feel guilty or ashamed when people ask you what is happening in your life (because you know you’re not doing the things you need to be doing to align with what you want).

I remember several years ago feeling like this. I was dating a guy who was wrong for me, and was in a career I didn’t love. And every part of my being was trying to tell me something was wrong. I felt anxious and couldn’t sleep at night. I had terrible migraines. I was cranky and irritable most days. And I felt like I wanted to run away and escape from my life.

When I started looking at the root cause, I discovered that my life was out of alignment with my values. I valued health, but wasn’t exercising enough or sleeping well. I valued spirituality, but wasn’t meditating or doing tarot readings because my boyfriend didn’t believe in that. I loved being in nature, but I rarely got outside because I was too busy working at a job I disliked. I valued people, but worked from home with little social interaction. I loved music, but almost never sat down long enough to play piano and guitar. And I wanted a happy and connected family, but felt like most of my time with my kids was spent doing chores.

Little wonder I felt off! My core values were not being reflected in my life.

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Make small choices, every day, to bring your life into alignment with your values. And watch how much things can change in a year!

So I started making changes. I said goodbye to the boyfriend whose values were so out-of-alignment with mine. I created a spiritual practice that I followed daily. I made time for music and nature regularly. I asked each of my kids what they most wanted to do, then started doing those activities with them. I joined a gym and organized social events with my friends so I could get out with people more. And I launched a life coaching business and began teaching others how to create a great life for themselves.

Each of these choices, by themselves, seemed small. But over the course of a year or two, how I felt about my life changed dramatically. Suddenly, I felt like things were “right.” My life, while not perfect, was mostly the way I wanted it to be. I looked forward to getting up in the morning, and I felt happy and satisfied when I went to sleep at night. Life felt good, really good.

And it all began by getting in touch with what I valued most.

Discover your core values

This is the exercise I use with my clients to help them get in touch with what matters most to them. You really only need around 20 minutes to do it.

  1. Make a list of what you value (like family, security, abundance). See the list of values below for ideas. Write or circle as many as you want.
  2. If you’re stuck, think about the times in your life when you were the happiest, most fulfilled, most proud. Think about what you were doing, and what that means you value.
  3. Once you have a general list of values, it’s time to zero in on those that most resonate with you. Set a timer for five minutes. Circle only the values that make you feel good and bring a smile to your face…not the ones you think you “should” have. You want to choose your true values…not someone else’s.
  4. Next, set your timer again and choose the five to seven values that are most important to you. Don’t overthink this—just go with your gut.
  5. Finally, set your timer again, and list your seven values in order of priority.

Now you know your core values.

Because values do change over time, be sure to revisit this exercise at least once a year. (I do this at the beginning of each year as part of my goal-setting exercises.)

Examples of values

Abundance
Achievement 
Adventure
Artistic expression
Balance 
Being the best 
Belonging 
Calm 
Challenge 
Cleanliness
Communication
Community
Compassion 
Competition
Connection
Contentment 
Continuous improvement
Contribution 
Control 
Cooperation 
Creativity 
Curiosity 
Discipline 
Diversity 
Dynamism 
Economy 
Effectiveness 
Efficiency 
Elegance 
Empathy 
Enjoyment 
Enthusiasm 
Equality
Excellence
Excitement 
Exercise
Expertise 
Exploration 
Expressiveness 
Fairness 
Faith
Family 
Fidelity 
Fitness 
Freedom 
Friendship
Fun 
Generosity 
Goodness
Grace 
Gratitude
Growth 
Happiness 
Hard Work
Harmony
Health
Helping others 
Holiness 
Honesty 
Honor
Humility 
Humour
Independence 
Ingenuity 
Inner harmony
Insightfulness 
Intelligence 
Intuition
Joy 
Justice 
Kindness
Leadership
Legacy 
Leisure time
Lifelong learning
Love 
Loyalty 
Making a difference 
Mastery 
Nutrition
Obedience 
Openness 
Order 
Originality 
Passion
Patriotism
Peace
Purpose
Relaxation
Respect
Restraint 
Security 
Self-actualization
Self-control 
Selflessness 
Self-reliance 
Sensitivity 
Serenity 
Service 
Simplicity 
Speed 
Spirituality
Spontaneity 
Stability 
Strength 
Structure 
Success
Support 
Teamwork 
Thankfulness 
Thoroughness 
Thoughtfulness 
Tolerance
Tradition
Tranquility
Trust
Truth
Understanding 
Uniqueness 
Unity 
Variety
Vision 
Vitality

 

Creating a life based on your values

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.” –Ayn Rand

Now that you have a list of core values, think about your current life…your career, home, family, relationships, leisure time, health, personal development. Does your life reflect these values?

Everything you do—your daily priorities, what you buy, how you spend your time—should reflect your core values.

If your life does not align with your values, it will not feel good to you. So think about what actions you can take right away to start to re-align your life with what you think is most important:

  • Sign up for a fitness class.
  • Book a day off to do fun things with your kids.
  • Plan a date night with your partner.
  • Start saving every month for a trip.
  • Take a course in photography.
  • Call that friend you keep thinking about.
  • Start a gratitude journal.

The steps you take don’t need to be huge. Make small choices, every day, to bring your life into alignment with your values. And watch how much things can change in a year!

If you liked this post, please share with others and share your comments below!

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Karen Strang AllenKaren Strang Allen is an empowerment coach and speaker who helps women create an exciting new self-image after a break-up, job loss, empty nest, or other life change. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Karen helps her clients heal their hearts, re-discover their strengths and passions, and create amazing lives that inspire others.

Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Ask for a free consult today!

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Responses

  1. […] a place of accepting “what is,” ask yourself how you would like things to be. Consider your core values and what is most important to you. Decide what your highest intention is for what you want to have […]

  2. […] before setting a new goal, get clear on what your values are, and why you want to achieve this goal. Focus on the positive benefits, and how you’ll feel…not […]


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