If you have followed me for a while you will have heard me talk about the importance of understanding your values. By which I mean, what’s important to you. Just in case you are new here, let me sum it up for you: without understanding your values you cannot make decisions from a place of clarity.
That sounds like a bold statement, no? Good. I am here to challenge your thinking and I truly believe that the decisions we make are best made from the foundation of our values. Why? This is because our values drive our behaviours, attitudes, preferences and our moral compass. They represent our deepest desires: what we want to stand for, how we want to relate to the world, and how we want to be remembered. This is particularly important for setting goals.
Why Set Value-Driven Goals?
Whether we are looking at developing our careers or setting a personal goal; when they are value-driven we are more likely to be successful. In my experience, this is because not only are we setting goals that we want, but we understand why we want them and because they feel aligned, they also feel effortless. We attach meaning and significance to a value-driven goal which in turn gives us a sense of purpose. When we set a goal linked to our values, it is more likely to change those connections in our brain and have sustainable and consistent effects on our behaviour. Decisions, actions and behaviours become easier.
Over in the Resolution Rebels course, I have explored the values behind our goals i.e. what makes this goal important to you? What are the benefits to you of achieving this goal? In my experience, people think about their values in a very logical way. They want lists and answers. The problem is that our values are not always logical. They are an expression of who we are. You may know who you are at a logical level but deep down you may not understand your values (that’s where coaching can be helpful).
A value-based goal arises from an innate desire to match our behaviour to our values. For example, someone who values feeling connected might set a goal to create a weekly catch-up with a friend, while someone who values positivity might vow to start every morning with a gratitude practice. You get the idea
How to Create a Value-Driven Goal
1. Clarify Your Values
The first step to creating a value-driven goal is to clarify your values. The easiest way to do this is to think back to those meaningful moments in your life - what made that situation meaningful? It is those things that will likely represent some of your core values. You might also consider what you do to find fulfilment - fitness? creativity? challenge? adventure?
2. Link Your Values to Goals
Once you’ve defined your list of personal values, pick one value. Set a goal related to this value. Next, identify the specific area of your life your goal will improve and how you will measure progress. Keep it realistic in light of your available resources (e.g., time, resources, money, etc.)
You can take it a few steps further and identify potential barriers to this goal and how you will overcome these barriers.
Now, most importantly, journal or meditate on how this goal will bring purpose to your life.
3. Live Your “Why”
Value-driven goals fill your day-to-day activities and behaviours with your “why”—or the things that give you purpose and meaning. So when you understand your why, look for opportunities to embrace it, and live it fully.