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Living from the heart: Know your values first

Victor Larson
Victor Larson

Counselor and life coach contributor at the International Wellbeing Center

Jakarta | Mon, January 22, 2018 | 12:41 pm
Living from the heart: Know your values first

When creating your goals, start by establishing your personal values, writes life coach Victor Larson. (Shutterstock/File)

Every day, we make decisions based on what is important to us. 

When we start our day, we decide whether we will eat breakfast or not. If yes, we make another decision: Will we eat healthy or unhealthy food? In the afternoon, we make the food decision again, yet this time, we have to choose how to manage the aftereffects of food on our body. Will we compromise our best work performance for the tired feeling we get after eating, or make a preventive plan to make the most of our jobs while efficiently managing the post-lunch effects?

The answer to the last question reveals what is more important or valuable to us: our health or our careers. As you may have already guessed, these scenarios can be applied to every area of our lives: financial, emotional, relationships (romantic, friends), recreational, personal growth, and home/work environment.

Every day, we are either designing our best self to fulfil our destinies or compromising our hearts and therefore living a lie.

Living your essential self

Values, goals and personal growth create a synergestic effect, the push and pull of which either build them up or tear each other down.

With negative values (anti-values), it’s impossible to reach healthy, constructive life goals, and as a result, achieving personal growth is impossible. Whereas when we live from our positive values (core values), goals are met, and self-realization is possible.

These are the three steps to find your values:

1. Find your most important values

Search Google for you a list of personal values. Once you've found a broad list, go through each and consider which are important to you. For instance, in a pool of 50 values, you would pick 5-10. Compare which of these have more short- and long-term benefits, then select the three that give you the most passion to do yourself and others good.

2. Put meaning to your values

Write out each value with space to explain. Be sure to include a concrete example in your life in which that value is expressed and what positive impact it had on you. Note that anti-values steal your joy, hope, love and other constructive values. They short-circuit your purpose in life

3. Prioritize your values:

Place each value and accompanying explanation next to one another and ask these questions from life coach Alison O’Leary: “Does the list feel right? Do these values sum you up as a person? Do they make you feel good about yourself? Would you be comfortable and proud to share your values with the people you trust?”

Create a personal development plan

Now that you have your values, next is the personal development plan. Simply stated, a personal development plan is a tool to assist you in leaving your mark on your world and the community around you.

For beginners, here are three main steps to create a personal development plan based on your values:

1. Define your core values into specific goals for one ore more areas of your life

I recommend finding a quiet place away from all distractions and temptations and ask yourself these starter questions: ‘What do I want to do that I have never done before?’ ‘What do I want to see that I have never seen before?’ ‘What do I want to know that I don’t know?’ ‘What do I want to have that I don’t have?’

Make sure you have a concrete verb in each goal statement, such as: ‘Wake up 15 minutes earlier on the weekend" or "Cook at least three healthy meals at home every week."

2. Break down your goals into realistic objectives

Consider practical, achievable objectives and connect it to specific commitments. For instance, if my career goal is to get a job promotion, my daily action would be to be first in the office and the last one to leave everyday, before and after promotion.

Here is a tip for you overachievers: Work toward owning the first promotion, but prepare yourself for future promotions.

3. Evaluate your progress at regular intervals

According to Asian Efficiency, successful people check on their goals every 90 days. In addition, recruit a trusted friend, colleague, loved one and/or coach to keep you accountable in realizing your true self.

Before we wrap up, let me tell you my recipe for living out my values and personal development plan.

Every day, I check in with my three values, freedom, excellence, and achievement, and ask myself: “Am I living these values to their fullest in every area of my life?” If not, make time to repeat the value and life planning steps. If yes, maintain the course of action already in place.

What decision will you make today? Live courageously with passion and purpose – you deserve it. (dev)

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Victor Larson is a life coach and counselor contributor at the International Wellbeing Center with over 10 years of experience. He is trained in the transpersonal approach, which promotes self-actualization, and is rooted in the humanistic psychology approach. Victor completed his education in psychology and marriage and family therapy at California State University, Fresno, United States. When not collaborating with clients, he is maintaining his wellness routine of intermittent fasting, an all-raw-food diet and short, but high-intensity cardio and strength training. He is learning videography and photography in his spare time.

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