It’s the final day of our Jump Start January 7-day mini challenge, and we’re going out with a bang. Today’s activity is to choose a value, and set a goal that’s in alignment with it.
By making small tweaks to our lifestyles and our mindset we can become happier on a day to day basis, but as human beings we also need meaning and a sense of purpose to live fully satisfying, motivating lives.
Today we are going to start with a quick look at our specific, personal values, and then follow on by setting a simple short term goal to match it.
Step 1: Consider your own values. These are very specific and personal to you – it’s not about impressing anyone else, or looking like a ‘good person’. It’s about what makes you tick, what resonates with you.
Take ten or fifteen minutes to write down your top values. These could be things you believe in strongly, or things you want to do that truly capture your imagination. For example your list could include:
- Taking care of your family / loved ones
- Protecting the environment
- Being good at your job / having a successful career
- Staying out of debt / earning a certain amount
- Helping those less fortunate than yourself
- Following a philosophy or religion
- Specific political or social issues
- Being brave, honest, kind, confident, or authentic
- Living healthily
- Citizenship, contribution or being part of a community
- Being kind to animals
- Lifelong learning or creativity
- Experiencing the natural world or travel
- Enjoying / supporting the arts
- … or just about anything else you want
It could be things that you love, or things that you don’t like at all but passionately want to change for the better.
Think about which items on your list are the most important to you, and then consider where there’s room for improvement. Are there any areas in your life where you aren’t living your values?
Step 2: Take one of the items from your values list, preferably one that feels quite important, and set a short term goal for bringing this value into your life more strongly.
For example, depending upon your values, you could:
- Set a fitness goal for the month
- Attend a community meeting or event
- Look into volunteering or mentoring
- Get sponsored or donate to a favourite cause
- Set a career goal (apply for new jobs, get more training, launch a micro business etc)
- Schedule in quality time with friends / loved ones
- Address a health issue
- Join a society, group or professional body
- Look into travelling or taking classes
- Research minimalism or zero-waste lifestyles
- Sign a petition or write to your MP
- Buy some art or decorate a room
Choose something you can do within the next few days or weeks, and make a start on it. Remember, you don’t have to tackle every single thing all at once, just pick something simple for the moment and take a small action.
How did you find this exercise? Did it bring up any values that you hadn’t thought about in a while?