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How Defining Your Values Gives You More Energy for What Matters Most

While you can’t create more time, by defining your values you can increase your energy and the mindful way you use time.Does it feel like you never have enough time or energy? While you can’t create more time, you can increase your energy and the way you use your time. How? By defining your values – identifying what’s most important to you. They are your source of intention, power, energy and motivation. On the other hand, if you’re trying to do something that doesn’t matter, you’ll give it up and this creates negative energy zappers, “Here’s another project I quit, failed at, and left unfinished. I’m such a loser. I can’t get anything right”

Your energy comes from four main sources — your body, emotions, mind, and spirit. The good news is that you can systematically expand and renew your energy by intentionally eliminating practices that deplete you while increasing behaviors that support you.

We’ve all seen lists of priorities in life that include things like money, health, relationships and personal growth. However, listing priorities is just scratching the surface of your self-awareness. Personal values are the deeper reasons why something is important to you and you come to recognize them through a practice of mindfulness.

Take a few moments today and mindfully write down your thoughts as you read this. When you take the time to deeply consider and reflect upon what you truly value, and then write those things down, you’re more likely to have the courage and confidence to make choices based on those values. There’s something about actually writing down values that makes a person more committed to aligning with them.

But first, let’s examine why this is beneficial for you. What are some benefits of defining your values and not living by someone else’s?

It renews your purpose in life. Let your internal compass guide you, instead of making choices based on circumstances and social pressures. While you no doubt would like to please others, it’s important to live up to your own expectations. Living a life in line with your core personal values brings purpose, direction, and happiness.

It helps you make the best choices. If you haven’t clearly defined your personal values, you can end up making choices that conflict with your priorities. And when your actions conflict with your core values, the result is unhappiness, frustration and ultimately stagnation.

It makes life simpler. When you’re sure of your core values, decision-making becomes much simpler. When faced with a choice, you simply ask yourself: “Does this action align with my values?” If it does, you do it. If it doesn’t, you don’t.

So, what’s the best way to bring your energy in alignment with your personal values? 

Let’s consider these in the order that is easiest for most people to make adjustments. The exciting thing is that even small changes will greatly increase your energy level. (You’ll find suggested personal values in parenthesis below to get you started.)

Body – physical energy

We know that good nutrition, exercise, taking breaks, and sleep are essential facets of self-care. Yet the divide between knowing and doing is huge. That’s where a reflective practice helps you examine and live in harmony with your values.  It gives you the all-important reason WHY. For example, because you want to walk your daughter down the aisle when she marries, you’ll give up the tobacco, fatty foods, and start working out regularly. The core value of having a great relationship with your daughter fuels the energy to improve your health. (Responsibility and self-respect.)

Mind – mental energy

We’re surrounded by distractions and ways to procrastinate. These distractions are costing you a great deal in time and energy. They are draining and prevent you from growing and taking action that matters.  What personal value can you reflect on that will give you the energy to become fully present in what you’re doing and who you’re with? (Commitment or authenticity.)

Emotions – emotional energy

There are many techniques for improving your emotional state. A consistent practice of expressing specific and detailed appreciation to others is a powerful way to fuel positive energy. And when negative emotions emerge you can learn to clear your past and reframe your story. What personal values will allow you to tell your most hopeful and personally empowering story? (Humor or compassion.)

Spirit – spiritual energy

Haven’t you noticed that you feel more energized and focused when you see value in what you’re doing? What personal values keep you in alignment with what truly gives meaning to your life? (The spirit of service and giving back.)

I’ve designed two free tools to help you dig deeply, while you’re defining your values. One is The 7-Point Wellness Assessment which helps you listen to your body and assess areas that need further attention and embodiment. The second tool is 10 Steps to an Embodied Practice, which broadens your understanding of what embodied living means. I invite you to take advantage of both of these tools.

Thank you for the photo Nick Fewings

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