In life, we are continuously reminded of the importance of having values and allowing them to guide our decisions. But what if we’ve lost touch with those core values or the motivation behind them?
It is one thing to know our values but another to live a life that is closely aligned with them. You aren’t alone if you feel like you know yourself and your values pretty well yet still feel misguided.
It’s important to consider that the underlying goal of having values is not for us to strive for perfection. The idea is to find more fulfillment in life by applying those values more than they are currently being reflected in our daily life. All it takes to start accomplishing this is taking some time to reexamine what’s most important to you.
Believe that you are good enough
Before you set aside some time to review your core values, accept where you are in life. Accept the choices you have made up until now. There is more to who you are than what you have or have not done.
If you have been making decisions and setting goals off of loosely held beliefs, that’s okay. It is never too late to be more mindful of making choices that align with your values more closely. It starts by letting go of self-criticism and acknowledging that you are capable and good enough. If there is a particular way you’d like your life to be, allow positive and encouraging thoughts to guide you through your best efforts.
Make a list
Create a list of your core values. Let it all spill out, and don’t limit your responses by letting your beliefs get in the way. For instance, if you feel like you’ve written down “too many” things, don’t worry about that.
The idea is not to panic over whether you’ll be able to incorporate all of them all the time.
This step isn’t meant for fine-tune anything, either. Although, if any of your values appear more than once, highlight these are your core values.
Determine the prevalence of your values
How often do your core values show up in your life? On a scale of zero to ten, honestly answer how well you incorporate each one into your daily life.
The goal for this step is not to feel guilty for marking “1” next to something you value the most. This is to help you see what you need to prioritize to better align yourself with your beliefs and desires. For example, maybe you highly value compassion, but you seldom take the time to reach out those who need it.
Be true to yourself
Let go of the idea that your list of values should look a certain way. There’s a difference between gaining inspiration from others and setting goals based on their expectations.
It requires a great deal of courage and strength to be true to yourself. Not just in the sense of making consistent choices according to your values. Strength means making decisions and setting goals despite all of the differences in views and beliefs around us. That said, the more you tune into your authentic self, the easier it becomes to live a life according to what’s most important to you.