Are you truly happy and fulfilled in life? Do you take action on all the goals you set for yourself? If you answered no to both of these questions, don’t feel despondent. It’s easy to turn your situation around. Do you know what personal values are and how much they influence your life? Not only do your personal values influence your happiness, they are also, a key player for the goals in life that you you set for yourself.
Each and every one of us is very different, we think differently, we enjoy different things, and we dislike different things. As we grow older, we each develop a unique set of personal values. Our values are those things which we cannot compromise on in life, if you take them away, you take away your happiness too.
Why are they important when setting goals? If your goals are not aligned with your values, you will struggle to take action on them. I’s as simple as that. What often happens unconsciously is that we set goals which are influenced by other people, but they aren’t really important to us. If you know what your values are, you can ensure this won’t happen to you.
Here is how and why…
It’s easier than you think to ‘unwillingly’ set goals for yourself. This happens because you might ‘think’ it’s good for you, because everybody is telling you to do it and perhaps you are a little bit of a ‘people pleaser’.
You will probably see and agree that those goals are not easy to take action on, simply because they are not yours. So if you find yourself procrastinating, with no motivation and wondering why, here are two simple steps you can take to ensure your goals are always yours.
1. How to get clear on your values and ensure they are aligned with your goals in life…
Once you know what your values are, you can always cross check them with every goal you set. Do your goals respect your values and are they aligned? If you don’t put as much value on health as you do on family and work for example, setting goals like waking up at 6am to go to the gym because you know you should, is going to be a difficult task. Just because it’s a good thing to do, it doesn’t mean it is the right thing for you.
Take these 3 steps to identify your true values
- A peak moment in life – When was the last time you felt completely alive and happy? Write down what you were doing, with who, what was present in that moment and what was it that made you so happy? It could be a day you remember being with your family or maybe it was a day in the nature, or attending a seminar on something you love, write it down.
- A bad moment in life – When was the last time you felt really upset or irritated? What frustrates you in life? What was happening? Have you noticed how we all get upset by different things and to different degrees? Perhaps you don’t care if you see someone littering, but for somebody else, it could instantly make them angry. Whatever makes you easily and overly upset, it’s because your value is not being respected in that moment. Let’s say one of your top values is respecting others; you might find yourself extremely bothered when no one offers their seat to an old person on the bus whereas other people don’t seem to notice.
- Your must-haves– These are the things in life you need to have to be happy, your non-negotiables. Maybe you value freedom above all, so any time you are not feeling free, you will find it extremely difficult to stay in that situation.
Once you are clear on your top values; always remember that any goal you set must respect your values and if the goals in life you set have nothing to do with your values; whose goals are they really?
2. Always check in with your emotions and be honest with yourself.
- Ask yourself the following questions and answer honestly. How motivated do you feel to achieve the goal? Is the outcome very appealing to you? Why do you feel motivated by the goal? What does achieving this goal mean to you?
- If you find that the goal is not so appealing or inspiring for you, it might not belong to you. You may have set it because you think it’s something you ‘should do’, but don’t really want to. Did you set the goal out of guilt?
If you have set the goal for other reasons, explore that as well. What boundaries do you need to set in life so that you are living life the way you want? Goals are those things that take us forward in life. They make life more fulfilling and happier, and although they are not easy to achieve, they are important. Why go through all the effort of setting a goal for yourself that you don’t really want to achieve?
Until you start setting goals that are congruent with your values, you will find taking acting on them difficult. You have to set goals that will enhance your life, because if you are not well, others around you won’t be as well and vice versa. The more you put yourself first, the more you can give to others as well.
We can bluff other people, but we can’t bluff ourselves. So, choose your goals in life based on value rather than ‘gain’.