Our values can be defined as the principles that lead, guide and motivate us as we live our lives. It’s our heart’s most authentic desires: who we want to be, how we want to relate and connect to others and how we want to contribute to this world.
When we live our lives based on our values, life feels rich, meaningful and fulfilling.
Unfortunately, what we are actually doing on a day to day basis, can be very different from what we VALUE doing.
If we don’t consciously take a pause to think about our values and the reality of our lives, we might not even realise that there is a discrepancy. But we will likely feel an underlying sense of dissatisfaction and unhappiness with our lives, and not be entirely sure where it comes from.
Here is a simple exercise from Russ Harris’ “The happiness trap” to help you clarify your values.
Take a few minutes for yourself, with a pen and notebook, and think carefully about the following scenario…
Imagine that you are 80 years old and looking back on your life as it is today. Finish these sentences:
- I spent too much time worrying about…
- I spent too little time doing things such as….
- If I go back in time, then what I would do differently from today onward is…
This exercise will give you a good sense of what you value in your life (e.g. family, relaxation, play, creativity) and what a meaningful, fulfilling life would look like for you.
It also helps you take stock of how you are currently living your life and whether it might be time to re-evaluate and refocus your priorities in order for it to be more in line with your values.