Live This Year By Your Values

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Welcome 2017! Sending out a wish of Loving Kindness to all beings:  In this New Year,  May we all be peaceful, safe, healthy, happy and live with moments of ease! 

So, how do you plan to start off your New Year? With a list of resolutions of what you need to change, or by listing intentions of what you wish to create  in your life this year? Whatever route you take, try bringing your values into the picture, mindfully. They can help guide you at any crossroad you encounter in the moment, when you are trying to decide between one thing or another. Reflect on your values and then make a choice that is aligned with what you hold important, to live more authentically.

Revisit Your Values

Start by revisiting your values. Make a list of your values on a piece of paper or post it, and put it somewhere visible in your workspace or home. Or you can create a note on your phone to bring up at any time. Identify your values, listing them as overall categories: Health, Family, Career, Recreation, Nature, etc…. You can expand these categories with details that fall under that heading. For example, if I appreciate time with family, the value would be listed as “Family,” and under that category I would identify the family relationships that are important to me: mom, daughters, son, sisters, nieces, nephews, etc…. I can also list family rituals that are important to me which involve family members.

Brainstorm Activities that Support the Value

Make another list. Brainstorm acts or activities that you can do to support the value. In my case, with Family as the value, my list of activities that I can do to support or strengthen this may include calling on the phone or video conferencing at least 1x a month, sending a text or email weekly, setting up monthly or quarterly dates to be with those important people, and acknowledging birthdays or other special events.  Think about creative or novel ways for you to support these values. Is there a way to support two or more values with one activity? For example, if I value family, nature, health and physical activity, I may suggest to my kids a hike at the beach or lake. I make sure to remind myself of the main value being supported, so that I don’t have major values vying for my attention.

Fit the Supportive Activities on Your Calendar

Schedule those supportive acts on your calendar. Look at your daily, monthly or yearly calendar and note– what events occur naturally in each month, i.e. birthdays, holidays, special celebrations, etc…? Where might you intersperse a few ideas from your brainstormed list?  Are there better times of the year to participate in certain activities? And, if you need buy in from other people, make sure to give them advance notice to fit it into THEIR schedule.

Reflect on Values When at a Crossroad

When you come to a decision point and need to assess how to spend your precious gift of time, reflect on your list of values to remind yourself of what is important. If the choices do not support your values, what other options do you have? Can you say “no” to something that is not aligned with your beliefs? For example, if my work-life balance is out of whack, and I have an opportunity to spend more time at work, or some time with my family– given family is important to me, I may choose family at this time. Or perhaps I have “self-care time” on my calendar, and a new work opportunity arises. If self-care is important to me, saying “no” to the other opportunity allows me to say yes to my value of self-care. Know that at every crossroad, you have the option to choose.  Try making the choice based on what you hold important, and live in accordance with your values.

Ask “What do I value?” Answer Honestly, and Support Your Beliefs

Bring more authentic living to your days by taking the time to check in and notice: what is important to you? What do you value? What brings you life or joy? In what activities or roles are you involved that you lose track of time? Where does your passion lay? What makes you feel fulfilled? Asking these questions, and then honestly answering them are the first steps. Revisit those values, make room to support and live by them, and then notice how much healthier and satisfied you feel. Make this year one in which you strengthen and cultivate a more authentic you! Do it today… value the gift of this day that has been given to you… your time is now!


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