Our values guide our decisions and set the tone for how we conduct our lives. Values affect our choices and the risks we take, but how does one know if they live their values? Living your values means being the most authentic version of yourself, not just at work or with your family, but in all areas that matter to you. If you have put in the time to discover your core values, you might wonder how to bring your values to life or bring more of them into your life. Just as your purpose is a compass that leads you back into alignment with your meaning, your values guide you closer to who you are.
WRITE THINGS DOWN
Sometimes the best way to create a blueprint or roadmap of your innermost self is by writing things about yourself down. While it might sound basic, writing down your values is the first step toward realizing them and ultimately living them. Writing helps because you likely have many thoughts and ideas swimming around your head, and your values can get lost in the mix. They may also get buried by doubts, negative self-talk, and having to tend to a to-do list of daily activities that pull you even further away from your values.
The physical act of putting pen to paper helps you to separate your values from the rest of your thoughts. Not only do you create significance in your values, but you help build the mind-body connection to your core values. Such a practice helps to elevate you to something incredible. Writing down your values also enables you to remember them when you need to make a decision. Use a journal, notebook, app, or word program to write them down; this way, you will have room to add insights and thoughts as you reference your values.
DEFINE YOUR VALUES
Once you have written down your values, you can define them. You can look up a literal definition, but the whole point is to describe them as they pertain to you. Knowing what each value means to you creates a powerful connection with what is most important to you. For example, if courage is one of your core values, stray away from the dictionary definition and instead define it as you see fit. Maybe courage means getting through another day sober or taking action when situations are scary or unpopular.
The definitions of your values might consist of a paragraph or two or bullet points; the important practice is to think about what each means to you. Creating your definition makes your values authentic to you. Sometimes people take their values for granted, but writing them down and defining them solidifies the meaning.
LIST WHEN AND WHERE YOUR VALUES SHOW UP
Your core values play out in different ways throughout your life. Some values might be more prominent at times than others, but they are always guiding your decisions and actions. It is crucial to identify when your values show up for you and look at these examples when you felt aligned with them. Such examples give you clues to further living your values and building on these moments. If you take a look at your life, you will find times when you stood up for yourself, your beliefs and made a decision that just felt right.
Choosing to become sober is the perfect example of this. One of these core values that keep returning might be hope. You might feel a sense of hope during your morning meditation. You might interpret this as an encouragement to keep moving forward when you have hope. When you define this value, it will become easier to spot when it does arise. The idea is to help you understand what the value is trying to teach you. Look at the times when a given value was present, what lessons it taught you, and how it supported your decision. It can be simple daily actions or big life-changing moments.
IDENTIFY WHEN VALUES ARE OUT OF ALIGNMENT
While it is essential to identify when you feel in stride with your values, it is just as important to identify when you fall out of sync. Often, when you feel out of sync with your values, there is a challenge or conflict in your life. Such times may cause you to feel like you will never get out of the situation, like you are stuck, bored, or overwhelmed as to what to do next.
During these times, there is likely something causing you to overlook one of your core values. To better prepare, write down times when you have felt out of alignment or when something felt off. Are any patterns presenting themselves? How do you feel, how do you behave in these times? Don't judge yourself; they are part of the learning experience. Discovering these lessons helps you return to the core of who you are.
CREATE AN ACTION PLAN
You won't get total clarity on your values by writing them down and tracking them; you have to put them into action. Start with your intention. What do you want more of in your life, and what will you do to stay in alignment? Think about the action you can do for each of your values and how to experience them more fully. For example, one of your values may be finding balance. You can incorporate more exercise into your week or look for a job opportunity that allows you more flexibility to help create an action plan around this value.
The action you choose is up to you; the important thing is consistency. Form an action plan that you can carry out. Such efforts should make you feel motivated and excited instead of feeling dread. As you move through your action plan, you will begin to notice how your values show up in your daily life.
Recognizing your core values is one thing, but living your values is a powerful way to lead a successful life. At START UP RECOVERY, we help individuals find and live their core values. We believe that living your values brings more stability, authenticity, and success into your life because you understand who you are and what you stand for. Living in alignment with your values also helps bring you closer to your life purpose and how you exist in the world. Success occurs from the beliefs you have about yourself and the actions you take to achieve these successes. If your beliefs fall out of alignment with the aspects of your life that serve your recovery and success, then it is time to get help. With 24/7 admissions, there is never a wrong time to reach out to us. To learn more about your values and plan for your success, call START UP RECOVERY today at 310-773-3809.