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As I have gotten older, I have found that my favorite tradition at the New Year is to take a look at what I accomplished and what I hope to work on going forward. I know what you are thinking, “This is just another resolutions blog…” but hang in there! I don’t like to start with my resolutions. I like to start with my values.
In the past, I would start with resolutions and find that I wrote resolutions that sounded good on paper, but I knew even as I wrote them that I wasn’t going to follow through. Why do we do this to ourselves? I know I am not the only one who has written a resolution and then guilted myself all year about how I didn’t follow through. So I quit writing resolutions, first that is. I now focus on my values instead. What do I mean by values? These are the areas in my life that bring me the most joy, help me come alive, and provide me energy.
I read a book by Lisa Druxman called “The Empowered Mama”, and it completely changed the way that I live my life. The book is meant to take an entire year because you focus on different aspects of your life for an entire month. What a brilliant idea! So the first month’s focus is discovering your top 10 values. Guys, this changed my life. This one thing. I created my list and… I felt so drained. Living my life according to the values I listed left me feeling overwhelmed and lost. How could that be? Shouldn’t I feel better because I had all these wonderful values? After sitting with my list a week later, I noticed my list contained many value that I felt “sounded good” or things that “should be most valuable.” I was creating a list based on biases and not on who I honestly am.
Living according to this first list made me unhappy. I felt lost and emotionally drained. I wasn’t being honest with who I really was because I felt like some values SHOULD be more important. For example, when I first created my list, family was number 2 with faith being number 1, but I was wrong. When I put family as a higher priority than my health, I became a worse mother and wife. I just couldn’t understand why this was happening. Shouldn’t my kids and husband be my number 2? Well, once I became honest with who I really am, I prioritized my health first and I found myself coming alive with energy. I WANTED to spend time with my family because I put my health first. I am not saying that this is what everyone should do, but being true to who you are gives you energy for more of your values. I was getting to know myself and loving who I am.
So now, every year, I look through my list and reevaluate if my values have shifted or if I need to make any changes. I do not pass judgement. I accept who I am with love. Everyone around me appreciates me a lot more when I can fully love and embrace who I am.
So here is my challenge to you: create your own list of your top 10 values. Come back to it and be willing to change your list if it is not fitting you. Put it somewhere important like a mirror. I put my values on a post-it next to my computer that I look at every day. Yes, you read that right. I look at my values every single day. As you look at your list, ask yourself, “I am living my values?” Since I began doing this, my life has been so much more beautiful and worth while. Seriously, do this today. It may just change your life. Be honest and embrace the real you this year. Happy New Year!
If you need help with value words, this website can give you some ideas.