Questioning your values is essential for happiness.
Knowing and more importantly living your values creates happiness. Your values are the things you hold dear and place above all else in your life. If you haven’t consciously thought through your values, there’s a good chance you living the values dictated by either your family or our broader society. That may not be good.
Why questioning your values is essential for happiness
Society’s values are changing. With the prevalence of consumerism, we’re constantly exposed to media messages that demonstrate the good life only comes when you purchase products. They would have you believe that purchasing a new car means you really love your family, buying a new dishwasher means you will have time to relax and of course expensive jewellery is the only path to an ideal relationship. On the surface we know these values are nonsensical. Yet, we’re bombarded by a whopping 4,000 – 10,000 advertisements every day and some of that information sinks in. Whether we like it or not.
Questioning old Values
I question my values every few years. I know that my values are essential for my happiness. After Christmas, I felt off. Not down, just a little lost. I figured it was time to review my values. Once I thought about it, the values that I’ve lived for the last two years are now somewhat redundant. They served me so well in my old life, but this new, travelling life is so different.
My highest value previously was Santosha. For me it was about finding that space in between ambition and contentment. The two things sound contradictory, and for me it was never about simply balancing my time. I wanted to feel that when I was working or studying, it had my full attention. When I was with the family that I was completely present and engaged with them too.
Now we’re travelling, family takes 97% of my time. When we started our trip, I thought I wanted to use the time away to really grow my speaking business and inspire others. Yet when I When questioned my values, I realised that my business the priority that I thought it was. We’ve worked so hard to save, plan and create this magic year away with our kids and I really want to enjoy it as much as possible. So, if Santosha isn’t my top value, what is?
Discovering new Values
As I question my values, I ask myself how I would live my life according to those values. What would have to change? Working through my values, I create a simple statement about what it means to me. Here are my new values, the things that are essential for my happiness.
- Connection – Creating moments with the family to play, explore, learn and enjoy our time together.
- Health – Become fitter and stronger and more conscious of eating well regularly. Develop good habits around exercise and meal preparation.
- Simplicity – Reduce obligations and commitments, enjoy the little moments of our journey, stay organised and practice gratitude and contentment.
- Contribution – Add value to others through blogging, social media, coaching and speaking. Continue to make a difference and inspire others.
- Financial freedom – Manage spending and work towards creating a business model that enables continued travel.
Living your values
Now I’ve questioned and redefined my values, I need to live them in order to create happiness. That means consistently putting my value of connection above all else. It’s not always easy, but it does help when faced with tricky decisions. Connection is the new benchmark. Which choice will help me to create more connection with my family? At this time in my life, that’s the path I’ll choose.
Finding your values
Below I’ve put a list to help you start questioning your values. There are two important things to consider. Firstly, who do you want to become in the future. You can’t choose values based on who you are. Your old values may have served you to achieve what you have but may not help you with the next step in your life. Secondly, you must consciously think about how you will live them. Values require action. If respect is a high value, question how you will live respectfully as opposed to how you can gain respect.
I encourage you to be playful with how you question your values. Really understanding what’s important to you and living your values is essential to your happiness. Enjoy the process and as usual, if you get stuck, get in touch.