I’ve been sort of out of balance with something I strongly believe in lately: conscious spending. With making my own money again and I think with this new job coming up, I spent wildly. Disclaimer, and in all fairness to myself, I didn’t completely go spending blind! I did still ask myself if I really needed something, but where 6 months ago I wouldn’t have spent, now I have been.
I’ve been out of balance with my own rules and I should be practicing what I preach to others.
A friend of mine called me out on this. She had just found my blog for the first time and read one of my own posts to me and I didn’t even reconise my own words! And worse, I’d not been following my own advice about awareness.
Alas, this made me think about our values and beliefs and how we regularly need to be certain of them and aware of them to ensure we keep on track with who we are and who we want to be.
How to define what your values are
What makes you feel good?
What makes you feel the most you?
What is important to you?
What gives you energy versus what drains your energy?
Knowing these things creates the foundations of what your values might be. We tend to feel good when we’re doing things that are important to us or things that we are naturally good at and enjoy. These things are associated with our values, too.
As MuchelleB says in her video (linked below), we also should pay attention to when we don’t feel good; low points in our lives. These things highlight when we have been out of alignment with our values e.g. spending money on clothes made me feel shoddy because I don’t value reckless spending and I wasn’t spending money on something truly important to me; whereas spending on books does feel good.
It’s about paying attention to what you do and how it makes you feel.
You can take a values test or do a worksheet, like I did. Also, I took a strengths test and these results were in line with my values, too…
Mine, for those interested, are (no order):
- Love of learning
- Social Intelligence
- Learning (including: growth, progress, achievement)
- Experiences (travel, fun, bravery)
- Contentment (peace and acceptance)
- Wellbeing (joy, understanding, health)
- Creation ( fun, bravery, learning)
You know you have the right list if you look at it and immediately feel good!
YouTube videos that could help you define your values:
She says to ask yourself, “who do you want to be?”, “how do you want to feel?” and “what do you stand for?”
MuchelleB (more recent, and worksheet included*)
How to keep on top of your values
So, now that you know what your values are, how do you keep to them? How do you honour them? Well, I’ve been trying to do this myself so here are some of my ideas…
Firstly, don’t see your values as something restricting. They are a part of you. They’re supposed to be important to you so by honouring your values, you’re honouring yourself (and vice versa). This means being true to who you are in many ways: in your decision making, your relationships, your thoughts, and in the use of your time.
Are you spending your time honouring yourself and your values?
I value learning, so am I actively learning in my time? If not, can I make time for it by prioritising and removing things that aren’t a part of my values?
Set goals that are in line with your values. I value creativity and one of my lifetime goals is to be a published author (writing children’s books, most likely). I value learning and one of my goals, as of now, is to complete my module this year for my university degree, as well as read more books.
Are you setting goals that make sense for you? Goals that involve a value or will result in one?
If your goals reflect your values, you’re going to put more effort into them and be happier within yourself.
Your environment should reflect your values, too. This could be in a very literal way, by printing off images that remind you of your values so that you can stick to them more easily. Or, you could simply ensure that when in places that are important and personal to you, that they reflect who you are and what you value.
Posters or collages or photos = creativity, social, adventure, fun
Notebooks, noteboard, whiteboard, planners = organisation, ambition, learning
Quotes, books, journal = wisdom, intuition, success
Yoga mat, exercise bike, activewear = health, wellbeing, activity
It can be really important to spend time with people who have the same or similar values to you, in order to keep on top of them. You are influenced by the people you’re surrounded by, so pay attention to whether the people in your life are encouraging or taking you away from your values.
Put your values at the forefront of all the decisions you make. As in, when it comes to buying something, doing something, changing something, going somewhere (etc.), ask yourself if that thing is in line with your core values.
I should have asked myself before my big clothing shop whether this was something that would bring my closer to what I value and who I want to be.
Active value-filled week
Make your values a part of your routine. This is key. It needs to be something you do regularly, at least a little.
Creativity – writing, my uni work, reading
Learning – uni work, reading
Spirituality – journaling, yoga, meditation
And so on…
Are you doing things that correlate with what you value most? No? Get to it!
Write up a mission statement or mantra to help you remember your values and how they fit into your life. When you feel off or out of alignment, read this again and again, and make changes where needed.