As you review and look forward this year, it is often helpful to take stock of where you’ve been and where you are headed. Often, this time of introspection leaves us feeling as if there is something missing. That’s where living your values comes into play.

Living your values means to be the most authentic version of yourself in all aspects of your life. Not just at work, or with your family, but in all areas that matter to you. Just as your purpose is a compass leading you back into alignment with who you're meant to be, your values guide you back to who you truly are.

The main idea is that if you are aligned and aware, life will begin to display the most important values. These are love, compassion, beauty, creativity, intelligence, inner peace, and personal evolution. By putting these values first in your life, you will be coming closer to your source.

Other core values include the following:  wisdom (knowledge + character); performance; and love.

If you are not sure what your values are, look at what you enjoy spending your time doing and what you fill your space with. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What makes you naturally happy?
  • How do you spend your resources (time, energy and money)?
  • Where in your life are you very organized but it doesn’t feel like a chore?

All of these questions are prompting you to look for ways in which you express your values.

7 Practical Ways to Live Your Personal Values:

Write your values down and define what they mean to you. Use inspirational words to define your values and make sure they are meaningful to you. After you have finished, leave it for a day and come back to it. Does what you have written feel right to you?

  1. Read your list regularly to remind yourself. They could be written as a preface to your goals that you read each day.

Plan your goals around your values. In the goal setting process, there should be at least one goal set for each of your top 5 values. This is one way to ensure you are always aligned to what matters most to you.

  1. Write a daily task list that has at least one action towards your highest values. Put what is important to you at the top of your ‘to do’ list as a non-negotiable. This way you will be taking steps each day toward a more fulfilling life.
  2. Think with intention about how you can inject more of your values into your daily life. Contemplate in your ‘down time’ more ways you can add meaning to your life. Think of specific actions you could take to make this come to life.
  3. Don’t sacrifice your high priority tasks by spending all your time on low priority tasks. Notice if you are doing the things that are keeping you busy but not getting you closer to your goals. They can wait until after your high priority tasks, if they are important they will still get done.
  4. When you say yes to something ask yourself “Is this in pursuit of my highest values?” This will help with your decision making when you have competing demands.
  5. Therefore, your daily life should be focused on noticing whenever you are distracted, stressed, fatigued, worried, or in any way displaced from a sense of feeling centered and content. This new focus represents a big change, but there’s an axiom to keep in mind: You cannot change what you aren’t aware of.
  6. Repetition is critical. You need to center yourself as soon as you notice that you have lapsed into unconsciousness. Total well-being is possible only through total awareness, yet every moment of waking up has its short-term benefit, too. That’s the beauty and promise of wellness as a total project that you can undertake here and now.

Living this way, almost like magic, brings you more of what you need to live your personal values every day.

This does not come without any effort of course, your job is to know what is truly important to you and focus your resources (time, energy and money) on these things. That will take awareness, effort and persistence.

After a while, you will notice that it gets easier, everything starts clicking into place. Your awareness continues to expand and propel your situation forward in positive ways.

It may take time for things to turn around as it’s likely the process will involve some change. Try to move towards stability as a baseline while you are waiting for the momentum to kick in.

You may need to look at all areas in your life where there’s ‘drama’ or people that create ‘drama’. They absolutely must go.

In a time of change your brain can only cope with so many things at one time. It’s not a matter of willpower, it’s a matter of brain capacity.

So, if you are reading this because your life feels out of control, you are unhappy with parts of your life and you are stressed and tired. It can almost be guaranteed you are out of alignment with your personal values.

Take the time to listen to your heart, ask yourself “what is important to me?” and “what makes my life meaningful?”

It is absolutely worth the time and effort.