Juliana Park, What Do You Want?

What Do You Want? 5 steps to help you identify your core values.

It’s quite the question: What do you want?

A surprising number of people have tremendous difficulty answering this.

Maybe you aren’t used to being asked this kind of thing.

Maybe you focus so much on giving others what they want that you never give yourself the opportunity to ask what you desire.

It’s easy to forget about yourself in today’s hectic world, but when you’re always busy juggling demands, twisting and bending to make everyone else happy, you slip out of alignment and can lose sight of what truly makes you happy.

I advise you to be kind to yourself and respect the desires in your heart. You have the power to create abundance, and it’s up to you to define what that means. Let’s start by identifying what matters to you most.

Here are 5 steps to help you figure out your core values.

1) Quiet Your Mind. Take a few moments to shake off any tension and plant your feet onto the ground. Feel the earth supporting you as you straighten your back, sit tall, and take a deep breath. Bring your attention to your breathing and simply allow the inner chatter to quiet down. Stay focused on your inhale and exhale, letting go of other thoughts.

2) Write Down Your Values. Take a Post-it pad or index cards and start jotting down a simple phrase or word on each sheet of paper. Don’t worry about getting every word exactly right. Your goal here is to identify what matters to you. Let your ideas flow and don’t censor yourself. Write down as many core values as you can, even if they don’t seem to be a top priority at this point. Here are some questions to consider, as they might help rev up the engine of your mind:

  • What are your lifestyle values? Some examples might include traveling the world to experience different cultures, being productive in a job, getting a certain kind of education, creating art, taking care of yourself (physically, emotionally, and mentally), taking care of the environment, spending quality time with family.
  • What characteristics do you admire in others? Examples include sense of humor, courage, loyalty, dependability, honesty, cleanliness, flexibility, respect, integrity, teamwork, and so on.
  • Which activities or “ways of being” do you value? Examples include serving people in less fortunate communities, cooking healthy meals, caring for others, meditating, playing soccer, and engaging in spiritual endeavors.
  • What do you value in your personal space and
 general environment? Examples can include having 
a clean home, fresh air, jazz music, being able to walk barefoot on the grass, and having comfortable bed linens to help you sleep.
  • How do you define your financial values? Examples of core financial values include living within your means, having financial security for yourself and your family, and sharing wealth with others.

3) Study Your List of Core Values. As you do this, be honest with yourself. Don’t worry about how it sounds or if you feel self-conscious, embarrassed, or guilty about listing material items.

Examine the values you have written down, and with each item, ask yourself, Why is this important to me? What will this bring to my life? For example, you might have written down that you want to be rich. Why do you want this? What meaning does it hold for you? You might answer that having money makes you feel safe. Ask yourself where this idea came from. Was this a message you got from your parents? Is the notion of financial security truly yours, or did you inherit it?

By deepening your self-inquiry, you will learn so much about what you truly care about, why you care about those values, and where your motivations are coming from. Give expression to all your feelings; don’t try to suppress anything. Remember, there are no right or wrong values, only ones that hold meaning for you or not.

4) Narrow Down Your Core Values. Look at all your values. I know these are all important to you, however, let’s narrow down the values that are of the utmost important in your life right now. Set aside five values that aren’t at the top of your priority list right now. After you’ve done that, remove another five. Then another five. Keep going until you are left with five to seven core values.

5) Create Your Core Values Statement. Once you have your core values, write them down in a document or journal and briefly explain why each value is vital to you. For example “I value communication because it minimizes misunderstandings and opens the way for family harmony.” After you document the list, it forms a Core Values Statement that you can type up and place somewhere visible. This exercise will elevate your consciousness about how you are spending your money and your time.

When you align your choices and actions with your core values, you begin to create the life you really want.

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