By Georgina El Morshdy
When you cut to the core, you want to feel good about yourself and your life. How you make that a reality is a journey of self-discovery that’s unique to us all. We all have different dreams, desires, and goals that serve to take us in the direction of our best self.
Your Core Values are a tool that can bring more alignment, purpose, and fulfillment to your life.
Define your three Core Values, and you’ll create a compass within that will help you make decisions, set the right goals, and infuse your life with more of the things you love.
Your Core Values are a sure-fire way to create your best life - but only if you live them!
Tip #1: Review your calendar
Your calendar is a powerful, unforgiving reflection of what you value most in your life. Remember, the way you allocate your time disproportionally influences the experiences and opportunities you have in your life.
A Core Value isn’t a real Core Value unless it’s an intrinsic part of your being.
In other words, if your calendar fails to feature a value you say you care about, that value is an aspiration - not a part of your identity.
For example, if you say you value FAMILY, but your calendar says otherwise, it’s essential to take a cold hard look at how you prioritize your commitments and the way you live your life. In a similar vein, if you say you value CREATIVITY but leave zero space to play and explore ideas, you’re valuing something else more highly.
It can feel uncomfortable acknowledging when you’re prioritizing something else - for example, work over family or achievement over creativity. However, once you know the truth, you have the power to do something to change it.
Tip #2: Schedule activities that align with your core values
One way to live your Core Values is to make quality, focused time for those values.
This process starts by deciding what each value means for you [for example, how I see adventure could be different from how you view this value]. Here’s a worksheet to help you capture this critical thinking.
Next, get creative and explore ideas for activities you could schedule to experience different values into your life:
ADVENTURE: Mystery tours. Be a tourist in your home town. Travelling.
CREATIVITY: Write. Paint. Craft. Journal. Dance. Cook. Bake.
GRACE: Gratitude. Prayer. Meditation.
SELF-RELIANCE: Complete projects. Alone time. Learn a skill that you rely on others for currently.
BRAVERY: Trying something new. Expanding your comfort zone. Courage over Comfort challenges.
Even better, consider your values when setting your next round of goals.
In the words of Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, “The prescription for extraordinary results is knowing what matters to you and taking daily doses of actions in alignment with it.”
If you have the intention to shift the proportion of your life that’s Core Values rich - you’ll soon feel happier, more aligned, and ultimately more fulfilled.
Tip #3: Eliminate tasks, to-dos, expectations, and responsibilities that don’t align with your core values.
Living a value-led life isn’t about adding new things alone; it’s also about eliminating things you don’t care about or value highly.
Think about it. Why waste time and energy doing things that aren’t important to you?!
Invest in help.
Build your team.
Allocate household chores differently.
Stop doing the things you only do because you think you should!
There are plenty of ways to free up space in your life. I promise this tip could be one of the most liberating steps you ever take!
Tip #4: Reflect on your values before making decisions.
Roy E. Disney said, “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”
It’s easy to get trapped in the realm of shoulds and musts - or this is the way it’s always been!
If we’re not mindful, we can end up making decisions that don’t serve our best self. Worse than that… we risk making decisions that take us further away from where we want to go.
Your Core Values provide a sounding board that can help you decide which is the right choice for you.
As you consider your options, tap into which one feels most aligned to the values you prize.
[And if you end up choosing a different option, it’s worth reflecting on which value is most important in your life!]
With your values to guide you, it’s easier to make choices that feel good.
Tip #5: Journal
Your Core Values form a piece of your identity. Discovering and choosing your values is an act of self-awareness. Find your values, and you’ll deepen the relationship you have with yourself.
The more you know yourself, the more you’re able to step into your best self.
This inner work can take time - especially if you’ve never given yourself space or permission to ask yourself what you want.
But it’s also beautiful work - because it takes you back to you and puts your life back in your control.
Your journal is one of the best places to explore who you are. It’s a place where you can meet yourself.
What’s more, because your journal can hold anything you throw at it, you’re able to make deep, profound discoveries that could transform your life.
Here are some Core Values based questions to journal about:
1. What do you really care about and WHY?
[TIP: Don’t stop at your first why answer. Instead, dive deeper and get to the core. The deeper answers might surprise you.]
2. Why aren’t you living the values you say you prize?
What are the blocks and barriers? [When you know what’s in your way, it’s easier to find a new way forward.]
3. If time and money were no object [and you had a magic wand that could make anything a reality], how would you live your life?
Your answer to this question will give you a different perspective on what you value most.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to weave your Core Values into your life.
What are your favorite ways to live with more purpose? Let us know on social tagging @bestselfco.