In the last article we looked at determining those areas of your life in which you would like to effect positive change in the year ahead. The ‘Wheel of Life’ exercise is a simple but effective tool to help clarify this. Once you have identified an area of your life to work upon, it’s time to dig a little deeper. We do this by establishing what your core values are.
Everyone has a set of core values. These are the things that mean most to you in life and generally drive the decisions you make. Most people are either only vaguely aware of their values or have never given them a moments’ thought. Yet an ongoing and fully conscious awareness of them can help direct your decision-making and bring you more fulfilment, joy and whatever else you want. By the way, fulfilment and joy are examples of values.
Values are particularly useful when used within the context of effective goal-setting. A goal that is aligned with your values will be easier to attain because you will have an emotional investment (value-linked) in it. This will result in greater motivation and an increased likelihood that you will take action towards the achievement of your goal. You’ll also be less likely to give up on it. The opposite is, of course, also true. If you are striving towards a goal that is in conflict with one of your core values, it just won’t feel right and you will usually find an excuse to give up on it. However, instead of beating yourself up with statements like ‘I never follow through on…’, or ‘it’s the same old story’, you can recognise the root of the problem – your goal was not value-linked.
For example, let’s say one of your goals is to earn €200 extra income per month from a supplementary source such as a weekend job. You already work a full-time job during the week. Working the extra days will mean giving up on time pursuing your hobby of mountain biking. Having done your values exercise, you establish that one of your core values is adventure. Another value, though further down the pecking order is money. Your decision to work at weekends brings both these values into conflict. As ‘adventure’ is a higher priority for you, continuing to work at weekends will most likely lead to frustration and bitterness at not being able to pursue your hobby. Armed with this knowledge, you can now either set another goal that honours your higher value, or find a way to accommodate both.
This example demonstrates how knowing your values can save a lot of wasted time and frustration when setting your goals for the year ahead. To complete your values exercise, use the flowing link to bring you to an easy-to-follow example http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_85.htm
Once you have established your values during the coming week, we will incorporate them into an exercise to establish powerful goals for the year ahead in the next article. Enjoy the exercise and discover what is most important to you.