Sometimes we forget what’s most important to us. We slip into habits of pleasure seeking or pain avoidance that are inconsistent with who we see ourselves as being at our best.

It is worth remembering what is important to us by identifying our values and then re-declaring those values as who we are. In order to stay in integrity, we then simply act in a manner consistent with our declared values.

When we slip up, rather than self-flagellate, we apologise where necessary, and re-commit. This process can save us considerable energy in terms of internal regulatory resources and helps us to live a life more consistent with the self we would be proud of when looking back from our death beds.

Defining our values

I think of values in terms of what I value most. They can be used as guideposts to help you to live a life that you want. To live a life purposefully. There are no right and wrong values, we are all different and have different ideals and aspirations.

Spend some time thinking about and answering the following questions. They will help you to better understand your values (Eurich, 2018).

  1. What values were you raised with? Does your current belief system reflect those values, or do you see the world differently than you were brought up to see it?
  2. What were the most important events or experiences of your childhood and young adulthood? How did they shape your view of the world?
  3. At work and in life, whom do you most respect and what do you respect about them?
  4. Whom do you least respect and what makes you feel this way?
  5. Who is the best (and the worst) boss you have ever had and what did he/she do to earn that moniker?
  6. When it comes to raising a family or mentoring others, what behaviours would you most and least want to instill?

Take your time answer these questions. Don’t force the answers; if you struggle to find an answer, ask your subconscious to do the work overnight and have a fresh look at it tomorrow.

Being conscious of your values will help you to align your actions; when your actions are aligned with your values, you find a sense of flow more easily and encounter less resistance and subsequently require less regulatory resources to manage temptations during the day.

We’ll review your answers in the next topic.