Are you clear on your values? When asked, someone might say they value things like “hard work, honesty and sacrifice.” There is nothing wrong with these things, but it’s also likely that these values were “adopted” from the outside instead of cultivated from the inside.
To take an inventory of what you value means identifying who and what is in charge of your life. It’s time well spent, too, because it’s a necessary step in creating lasting, healthy lifestyle changes.
As you think through what your values are and identify where they came from, it’s important to remember there are no right or wrong answers. This is just an exploration. What are your values aside from what you learned from your parents and society? Are they different? Have you established them yet?
Here are some personal examples of my values: clean, organic, healthy food; feeling calm and healthy; time with my family; eight hours of sleep each night; a winding-down routine at night; a meditation session every day; movement every day; making the amount of money that feels good to me; time with my clients; space for my own creative expression.
Those are far from my only values, but they are some of the ones that are very important to me. I am conscious of them and I am intentional about them.
It’s okay if you haven’t clearly defined your values for yourself yet. Most people are unaware that their framework comes from outside sources and what they learned when they were young. Some letting go might be in order and that’s totally normal. The most important part is getting honest with yourself about what matters most to you as an individual.
Once you have identified the basics, apply your values to what affects you on a day-to-day personal level. By doing so, you’ll begin to value your own opinion and what you truly believe about yourself instead of what others may be projecting onto you.
For example, I value a diet of healthy, organic food, but my parents don’t exactly value the same thing. When they were growing up, everything was organic, so why buy something that’s more expensive? In their eyes, it’s a marketing scam; from my perspective, it makes total sense to invest in organic food based on my life experience and what I know to be true.
It takes courage to live authentically, by your values, and recognize that your values will change as you grow. But as you begin to work with values, you’ll see how what you value builds the framework and foundation of your life.
Your quality of sleep, health, the kind of media you consume, how you treat others and the environment, how you treat your body, how you talk to yourself, how you spend your time and the people you surround yourself with are all related to your values. In fact, every single thing we do comes from a specific value.
Values play such a vital role in our evolution. Without a clear awareness of them, you’ll tolerate a lot of malarkey that’ll take more energy, space and time in your life. On top of that, goals won’t be met if your values aren’t aligned.
So take time to reestablish your value framework for yourself. Write down five of your personal values and hang them up where you can see them. That will help you start integrating them into your life. Ultimately, all of the energy you spend working to please other people, fit in and be accepted is energy that you will send directly back to yourself by identifying what you value.
Allison Pelot is a Portland-based dynamic fitness trainer and energy coach. Learn more at finallythrivingbook.com.
Editor’s note: Wellness Word is an informational column which is not meant to replace a healthcare professional’s diagnosis, treatment or medication.