I was listening recently to one of the Minimalists’ podcasts where they were discussing values, which really got me thinking; What are my values? And how could these help me live a more purposeful life and what can I take into the new year to help shape 2019 to be the way I want it?
‘What are our values?’ is an interesting question and one that has led me to creating a daily plan, a must-do daily list to lead to the life I want to live. It’s become my list of New Years Revolutions.
Whether we recognise them or not we hold a number of values and beliefs in the way in which we see the world. They are a part of us and they highlight much of what we stand for.
They can be seen as our own guide or a path to a happy life. When we are acting in accordance with our values, then life is going well. If we’re acting and experiencing things that are against our values, the world feels wrong to us.
They provide us with a personal code of conduct if we can define them and establish what we want in our lives.
As a personal example, one of my values is that it is important (to me at least) to see the best in others. Everyone makes mistakes, I sure do; no one’s perfect, I certainly am not. I believe we are all trying to do the right things, we’re trying to do a good job and that we want to make a difference. Coming from this place, is calm and peaceful – things tend to work for me.
One of the reason’s I know this is important to me is that on occasion, I’ve found myself in the position of discussing people whether members of staff at work, acquaintances, friends and even family incredibly negatively. When I have been participating in this, it has left me feeling icky. I know that where I have joined in with this to fit in and look good or otherwise, I’ve felt wrong and off balance. I’ve gone against what I value.
Beliefs are often seen as the foundation of our values and therefore, a good starting point to understand our values in more detail. In the example above, I inherently believe that everyone is good, as well as capable of making mistakes and bad decisions. I therefore value treating individuals with respect and giving them the benefit of doubt, a second chance or just understanding their world.
Our beliefs determine our attitudes and opinions, which influence our values that govern the way we behave, communicate and interact with those around us.
Create a Values List:
To further this journey of understanding, I reviewed numerous other sites that gave word lists to determine what other values are out there. What I learned was that these can be described in a huge number of ways, however a basic list of value based words is great place to get going, as we are able to pick out those that resonate most with us. Here’s a basic list that helped get me thinking about the elements that are important to me or inversely, what are not important in the slightest.
Patience, aggression, daring, calmness, challenge, cheerfulness, compassion, See the best in others, Not talking bad of others, Discovery, Health, Encouragement, Flexibility, Fun, Gratitude, Happiness, Inspiration, Joy, Making a difference, Open mindedness, Pleasantness, Reasonableness, Respect, Science, physical touch
Some of these resonated with me more than others and this actually helped me build my own list in more detail. Some of this was actually pretty easy, it instinctively feels right when you consider a belief or value that you hold.
After creating a list of our values and beliefs, we are in a position to be able to think about what a purposeful life would look like if we were living in line with our values.
This thought process took me full circle back to another minimalists idea from their podcasts: To create a ‘Must List’.
New Year’s Revolutions:
New Years resolutions have become passé, we decide to get fit, hit the gym for a month, pay for another 5 and then quit.
If you want to make some changes in your life that have a positive lasting impact, these need to be thought out and in line with the way you want your life to be. These intentional, considered changes in line with our values are New Year Revolutions – they are changes that will last!
New Year Revolutions need foundations, therefore mine are based around a list of ‘musts’. This is the behaviours, practices and possibilities that will help manifest the very things we want more of in our life.
This is a list of the things that are of most importance to us and that we value most of all in our day-to-day lives. If we focus on getting the important big rocks in the jar, we will ensure we’re focused on the things that are really important in our lives.
Get specific about the things you value in your life. Write them down to get clarity. Create a list of how you want your life to be. If your values are a path to a living a purposeful life you love, then defining these and working to create the possibility of each one daily is going to allow you to really live life your own way.
Below is my Must List, if you find this useful, please do share your own thoughts and experience.
My New Year Revolutions:
I must build loving relationships everyday (Through caring, kindness, calmness, truth, connectedness, respect, seeing the best in others, unconditional love, getting into the world of others, harmony, sharing and physical touch)
I must enjoy my life every day (Through being passionate, making a difference, fun, laughter, creativity, learning, sharing, discovery, achievement and cheerfulness)
I must eat good and healthy food at every meal (In January this means going vegetarian for the month to increase my daily vegetable and fruit quotients)
I must meditate everyday (This is about strengthening the ability to chose whether to engage with our feelings and emotions or to engage with our creative mind. It’s kind of like taking daily vitamins for creative and intellectual thinking)
I must contribute to others in a meaningful way everyday (The more we contribute to our community, the happier we make our community)
I must spend quality time with the people I love (quality time without distractions)
I must exercise 4 times per week (Walks, cycling, swimming, even weights)
I must write everyday (Notes, thoughts, blog posts, research)
I must grow as an individual everyday (to try new things, go beyond my comfort zone, learn from failing… because it’s the only way to learn)
I must be grateful and thankful everyday (You can’t be angry or frustrated if you’re feeling grateful)
I must live in the moment (this is key to living outside of stress, worry and following the same old routines!)
I must listen to podcasts, music or read everyday (and put news ideas into practice)