So last month we received a question asking how you can improve your life when you are feeling out of balance, confused and conflicted. We discussed the importance of acknowledging the values in your life and realizing the needs that these values represent. When your internal values are not somehow acknowledged in the way you live and in the decisions you make, you can become depressed or otherwise dissatisfied in life. Your homework was to list and itemize the values that you identify as being meaningful to you in an order of importance. For example, we might state the following as our personal values important to us at this particular time in our life with #1 being the most important value:
1. Family 2. Spirituality 3. Health 4. Friends 5. Career 6. Adventure 7. Education 8. Creativity 9. Finances 10. Fitness
Now these personal values are great to determine, but unless you take it to the next step and clarify the value by representing it through an actual behaviour or activity, you won’t likely alter your life at all. So the process of taking it further will involve planning what behaviours or activities actually reflect the value identified.
At this point, take each value and think up one activity that involves the value. For example, the value ‘FAMILY’ has many possible angles so you need to stop and think about what activity/behaviour will make you feel good about ‘FAMILY’. Perhaps spending time together is a goal, but you have to ask yourself specifically what you want to be doing. Playing sports together as a family might work for your situation, so now decide what sport and where will you do the sport. So this is the basic process of how you will work your way through all of your chosen values. Keep being more and more specific until you answer what the activity is, where it will take place, how often it will take place and for how long.
1. FAMILY – Spending time together playing soccer in the park on Saturdays after lunch for 15 minutes every week.
As you work through the list, you are stimulating your imagination and getting creative about what is really important in your life that you may have been neglecting. You owe it to yourself to spend time identifying what activities inspire you and fulfill you. You can make this a family project by involving your kids or your partner in choosing some of the activities. However, make sure YOU pick out the activities (giving them the option from your selection), otherwise if you leave the activity selection entirely up to them, you might end up playing Wii every Saturday for 2 hours and that might not necessarily fulfill your personal needs of spending time with FAMILY. Now implement one of your specific goal activities and tweak it until it becomes what you desire. Put it on the calendar and make a point of completing the activity for several trials until it becomes a habit. Notice how your satisfaction is impacted by completing this activity and keep a journal, if desired. Next month we’ll investigate further ways that our values impact our quality of life.
“Once you begin to understand and truly master your thoughts and feelings, that’s when you see how you create your own reality. That’s where your freedom is; that’s where all your power is.” Marci Shimoff