When you’re setting priorities one of the reasons that people feel stressed by all that they’re doing is that many of these things aren’t really important to them. So, whether you’re prioritizing your workload, where to go with your business, or how you want to spend your leisure time when you know what you naturally feel is important, you’ll find it easier to choose which one’s to go with first.
The way to know what holds the most meaning for you is to define your values. Values are the things that we’re most naturally drawn to. Those things that we do without having to work at it or struggle with. Your values form the basis of how you approach your life and when you set your priorities in accordance with your values, there is less stress and pressure. When you define your values, you have something concrete to check-in with when making decisions and setting priorities. When we live and work according to our values, it doesn’t feel like hard work. It’s much more fulfilling. I would suggest that if more people carried out work that was aligned with their values, this one thing would decrease stress hugely.
There are over 150 different values and include:
- To nurture
Defining your values is an ongoing process and you may find that over time they change slightly or their importance alters. You may already know your values or at least some of them. Looking at a list of values is a useful way to see which ones may fit you. A value can be taken on and tried for size, if it doesn’t fit you well, then you can put it to one side. You may choose to work with a professional coach to really define your values for you. It’s important that you don’t get your values confused with your needs. A need is something that you must have to be your best. They are a requirement in your life. A value, however, is appealing to you, leaves you feeling most like yourself and fulfilled. Our needs will get met whether we choose to do this in a healthy or unhealthy way. Our values do not have to be honored, however when you do define them and honor them in your life, you will feel more fulfilled, more yourself, and experience less pressure and stress on you.
Let’s say that you value feeling good, accomplishing, and strengthening. You’re looking at your priorities for the day and you really want to go to the gym after work. You also know that you need to clean your car, finish the DIY you started weeks ago, cut your grass and get some housework done. Going to the gym is the one thing that fits in with your values totally. What I’ve found is that if we do things aligned with our values, this leaves us feeling good and more inclined to get on with the other things after. However, if we choose not to align with our values, this is often more of a struggle. We could make ourselves carry out the other tasks first and go to the gym if we had time after. What often happens is that it’s hard to get started with the other tasks, we put them off, take longer getting them completed than needed, and hence often aren’t able to do the one thing that we really wanted. In this case going to the gym. You’re likely to end up feeling frustrated, disappointed, fed up and this puts stress on you. When you choose your priorities based on your values, you’ll feel better about yourself, more fulfilled and less stressed.
The process of defining your values is started by looking at a list of values* and by responding to the following questions.
- What do you most like to do?
- What are you most naturally drawn to?
- Do you ever lose track of time and really involve yourself in something. What is it?
- What do you feel really passionate about as a person?
What I want for you is to know your values and live your life according to them.