06 Apr how to align your actions with your valuesReading Time: 4 minutes
our personalities are based on our personal values, but the part that is important is how these values line up with our actions and sadly our intentions become irrelevant if they are not expressed in actions. this post is a simple guide to defining your values and aligning them with your actions.
lately, I’ve made a few decisions that go against my values. small decisions that sound a bit silly to say out loud, like buying lemons in a plastic bag, rather than fresh from the market because it was on sale or buying a donut with dairy in it because I went to a cafe without any vegan options. in the grand scheme of things these decisions are minuscule but they got me thinking about something larger, how our values line up with our actions. it’s not that there are rights and wrongs only it is worth considering, and I know it helped me act more based on my true values.
define your values
our values define who we are as people. what we believe in and the world we want to create. we all have values, maybe you’re not sure what they are or you want to reevaluate them or you know that they aren’t reflected in your actions, all the time. either way take some time to figure out your values. this is a great journaling exercise and can also be done by talking it through with a friend. just find a way to get your thoughts down.
self-care & personal fulfillment
think about what makes you happiest, not just short term gratification but rather overall fulfillment. consider the actions you take that make you feel healthy, energized and inspired. maybe you feel great right now and you can see with actions you are taking that are healthy for you. maybe not so much and you can look at a time in your life that you were doing well and pinpoint why.
creating a better world
then consider the kind of world you want to be a part of, and the choices you can make to help create it. we cannot change everything, but it is imperative that we take responsibility for what we can, and this begins by defining the sort of world we want to create.
once you have a sense of your values make sure that they really feels right to you. take your time and consider why you personal believe in these values. it helps me to get everything out of my head and down on paper, you can always take some time and come back to it later and move to the next step when you feel sure about them.
applying your values to your actions
now you know what your core values are you can line them up with your actions. the first step is looking at what actions you are taking that might line up with your values.
write down your inconsistencies
take some time to think about any actions you are taking that make you feel negative. maybe it’s it’s continuing to choose unhealthy foods, or go to bed too late, or drink too much. maybe not, there’s nothing initially wrong with any of these things but it is important that you think about what’s truly best for your wellbeing and that of our surroundings. if you’re making a choice that gives you short term gratification but doesn’t contribute to your overall wellbeing and that of those around you it probably doesn’t line up with your values. maybe your inconsistencies are internal. the way you think about yourself, and even if you want to value yourself an incessant judgment of your character is an action that doesn’t respond with your values.
forming better habits
forming positive habits is the key to acting in accordance with your values. there are a lot of opinionated voices in our minds and a lot of time they’re counterintuitive. there’s the voice that tells you you should workout more and spend less time watching netflix and then there’s the voice that tells you that a snack would make you feel so much better right now and you aren’t going to think about anything else till you get one. realizing that I am not all of the thoughts that are going through my head is changing my life drastically, mostly the realization that I don’t have to listen to them. the trick is to pause and take a moment to think if taking action on that thought is in your best interests. admittedly this can be confusing, and your internal dialog may give you many reasons why momentarily something is a good idea; but if you are clear on your values you will know what’s best for you in the long run. so stick to that. remind yourself why you chose your values and get in the habit of sticking to them. this may be hard at first but the more you exercise your mind you build a belief in your own willpower and it will be easier and easier to follow through.
I hope the post helps you guys better understand you values and line them up with your actions. writing is a wonderful tool to self reflect I know this exercise helped me. please leave a comment if you have anything to add, I’d love to hear your thoughts.