When I was in college and right out of school, I spent a lot of time focusing on cultivating my outer appearance. I spent money on fancy clothes, on expensive juice cleanses and the newest breakthrough beauty products. I’d splurge on meals at restaurants and pull out my credit cards to fund nights out at bars.
And sure, there was a part of me that felt glamorous. Especially when I was living in New York, rocking designer fashion and hanging out at trendy bars. But when I stopped and thought about it, I felt empty inside. I love a good party and indulging in fashion + beauty, don’t get me wrong, but living my life around those things was not fulfilling. And on top of it, I was constantly tired, stressed out and depressed.
All of that happened because I was not living in line with my values. I was focused outward – looking a lot at what our society told me I should prioritize. I based my life around what other people would think of me, rather than staying focused on what I thought of my decisions and the way I spent my time.
It left me feeling like garbage, and it’s taken me awhile to come to terms with the fact that those are years I will never get back. But I learned from my mistakes, and have spent time getting connected to what my values are. I’ve learned how to stand confident and strong in my truth, and to make decisions only from that place.
So I want to know, how much do you live in line with your values? Do you make decisions from your place of truth, or from a place of fear about what others might think or expect of you?
To start to answer that question, you have to look at what your values are. Do you value freedom and ability to spend your time however you want? Do you value success, be it financial, professional or personal? Are you most concerned with the quality of your relationships, or perhaps with how much enjoyment and happiness you get out of life?
There’s no right or wrong in determining your core values – they are completely different for everyone. Keep reading to walk through a core values exercise and start living closer to your truth.
To start to identify your values, read through the below list and reflect on what each of these words means for you. Do some of them jump out at your right away? Take five minutes to read through the list and reflect on each word. View a complete list in the free Core Values Finder workbook.
Now that you’ve reviewed the list, go back through and write down your top 15 values – or if you’re prefer, you can print off your Core Values Finder workbook here. Once you’ve got your list of 15 values, I want you to go back through your list two more times, narrowing it down to 10 and then 5 core values. This will probably be challenging – I know it is for me – but remember that if everything is a priority, then you can’t truly focus on any of your values.
I find it helpful to take a walk, meditate, or take some kind of break in between these sets, so you can come back to your list with fresh eyes and really identify which values speak to you. You can download your workbook and come back to this exercise as many times as you like, so don’t worry about trying to make it perfect. This is your tool for personal growth, and it’s no one else’s to review or judge or criticize. Even your own internal critic!
Once you’ve narrowed it down to five values, the next step is to evaluate how you’re spending your time. Your workbook walks you through several questions to consider when looking at where your 24 hours go each day. How much of that is sleep? Work? Play? Be as specific as you can, and be really honest about just how much time is spent in each activity.
Then, compare your list of time spent each day with your list of values.
What do you notice? Are things lining up nicely, with most of your daily activities causing you to feel one or more of your values? Or are your lists totally mismatched?
Wherever you’re at, breathe with it.
You are perfect exactly where you are – trust me on that. But with so many external pressures, images from social media and television and advertising that tells us what our lives should look like, it can be hard not to get sucked into living outside of our values. I did it for years, and I paid the price.
When you live in line with your values, you feel energized. Fulfilled. You get to wake up, look at your calendar and feel excited about the ways you’ll be spending your day. When you take the time to be intentional about how you spend your time, the universe flows so much easier, and it’s amazing the magic that can happen.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this exercise, and want to talk it out and get a clear game plan of what activities you can add to your life to live more in line with your values, then let’s have a chat. After your complimentary discovery call you’ll walk away knowing exactly what your health goals are, what you ‘why’ is and how to use it to keep yourself motivated, and how I can help. Head here to schedule a free session.