If we want to live a life that is truly satisfying, it is so important to live in alignment with our values. These are the things that we prioritise when we make decisions and take action. Your values give your life meaning and direction and without them life can sometimes feel confusing and overwhelming. Living out of alignment with your values can feel uncomfortable and stressful and definitely does not support your wellbeing.
Being clear on your values helps you to respond better to challenging situations and feel like you are living life with purpose. By understanding our values we get a clearer image of who we are and what we came here to do. This supports our wellbeing by allowing us to create the life that leaves us feeling satisfied and connected to our truest self. We spend our time and energy on the things that bring us joy and fulfillment rather than letting the demands of society take first place.
Examples of values
The beauty of values is that there is no right or wrong – they are completely unique to you! Of course, your values will be influenced by the family and society you grew up in, your life experiences and philosophies and traditions you encounter along the way. But at the end of the day it is you who decides what your values are and what is important to you in your life.
There are infinite number of values you could choose from. Here is an example list of values I have adapted from Living Well Australia:
- Health and wellbeing
These are umbrella terms which can incorporate many other values within them. For example, the personal value of health could include physical fitness and mental health. The personal value of leisure might mean adventure, fun or excitement for you. Valuing community can incorporate kindness, justice and humility. You can be as general or as specific as you like.
How to use your values
Once you have identified your values, what do you do with them? You can use your values to set goals and to give direction to the actions you take each day. Check in with yourself regularly and ask if the life you are living is in line with your values. If not, what needs to change? If you value health, are you prioritising eating well, reducing stress and moving your body? If you value connection, are you taking the time to nurture your relationships and spend time with your loved ones?
Sometimes we don’t realise that we are acting out of alignment with our values. I heard on a podcast with Brene Brown the other day the concept of drifting. This is when we are unclear on our values and so we take the path that is set out for us by society or our environment. We act on auto-pilot rather than with purpose. Not to say that we take the easy path, often it feels very challenging as we are unconsciously acting out of alignment with our values. At some point we become aware and it is time for some big changes.
My personal values
My personal values have certainly changed over the years. In the past I valued achievement and career above all and had a strong spirit of adventure. These days I still love to explore and travel but I value family, relationships and my health more than success and achievement. Sometimes I forget and I find myself working more than I’d like but to I soon realise that it is not what brings me fulfillment. Rather I am committed to building community and supporting women to improve their health and wellbeing and that’s why I show up here and to teach yoga.
*I am now qualified but I love the image!
You might also find your values change as you grow. When we are younger we might value adventure and excitement over security. Once we have children we could start to value family and spirituality more. Perhaps a stressful period triggers a shift in your values to health and leisure rather than career. It is therefore important to review your values every once in a while so that you are acting with intention rather than out of habit.
Today’s challenge: Identify your values
If the idea of values is interesting to you, today’s wellness challenge is to make a list of your top 5 personal values. You can use the list above as a starting point or come up with your own ideas. If you are part of the Moon Life Well Women Facebook group I will be sharing a worksheet to support you in identifying your values.
Once you have your list, take a moment to reflect on your current goals and lifestyle. Ask yourself – am I living in alignment with my values? If not, what small changes can you make to start to prioritise those things that are most important to you?
The next post in the final week of the Women’s Wellness Challenge will be about finding and living your purpose in life so make your you are subscribed to be notified! If you missed the previous posts you can find them all here – enjoy and be well! If you are looking for support and guidance to improve your wellbeing, I offer 1-2-1 online nutrition wellness coaching. You can find the details and book your first session here or reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over to you…
- Comment: What are your personal values and how do you live by them?
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