Are you living a rich, meaningful and fulfilling life? Are you acting as the person you want to be? Are you behaving in the way you want to behave? Do you surround yourself with the people who support you to live a rich and meaningful life?

If you’ve hesitated to answer any of the above questions, or if your responses are the opposite of the intended response, it is time to sit for a moment and focus on, or identify with, your values.

Values drive us. They motivate us. They incentivize us. Values help us to lead lives which are richer and more meaningful. They help to define who we really are, and how we wish to behave. If we are living our values, we are more likely to be leading more positive, rewarding lives; and doing those things which matter most to us.

How do you define your values?

There are many values audits and checklists out there, and they are usually the best place to start.

I would recommend this checklist – with special thanks to Russ Harris, Psychotherapist, Coach, Medical Practitioner and ACT trainer and therapist, for developing this tool.

We can have a whole host of values which will make our lives more meaningful, however some values will be more important to you than others. For example, you might feel courage or bravery is incredibly important and you strive towards reflecting this each day in your behaviour. Whereas being creative or innovative, despite being important to you, is not something you need to demonstrate through your behaviour or actions on a daily basis.

Values can include things like:

– Honesty and authenticity

– Respect and fairness

– Kindness and compassion

– Playful and fun

– Self-loving and self-care

– Mindful and present

– Helpful and generous

– Committed and reliable

– Hardworking and efficiency

Once you have been able to identify those values which are MOST important to you, you can then start to make some movement towards achieving greater alignment towards those values; to enable you to live an existence which is more meaningful.

Next steps..

What I would recommend is to identify 1 life domain (relationships, social/leisure, health and wellbeing, work, personal development, finance, outlook etc) and set some SMART goals which reflect your values. SMART goals are Specific, Motivated by your values, Adaptive (will this goal help to improve your life?), Realistic and Time-focused.

Remain self-compassionate when setting your goals – nothing too big too soon! This will lead to greater success and results.

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier” Roy E. Disney

Take care, and best wishes always!

Libby McLean

EAP Specialist, Coach and Trainer