Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking - S.J. Scott, Barrie Davenport (2016)

Part II. DECLUTTERING YOUR LIFE OBLIGATIONS

Strategy #1: Identify YOUR Core Values

To understand why something feels wrong, you must have a strong grasp of what is right for you.

Who do you want to be and how do you want to live your life?

If you have never defined your values, you are sailing the sea of life without a compass. You’re allowing the winds and storms to define your direction and accepting the outcome without question. Even if you have defined them in the past, it doesn’t hurt to revisit them, as your values can change over time.

Here’s a six-step process for defining your values.

1.                 First, go through this list of value words on Barrie’s blog Live Bold and Bloom , and write down every value word that feels important to you for your personal life.

2.                Then, go through the list again, and write down every value word that feels important for your career or business.

3.                For both lists, pick your top five to six values, and write them down on two separate sheets of paper. Title one sheet “Life Values” and the other “Work Values.

4.                Under each value, list all of the ways you are currently living out of alignment with this value. For example, if one of your values is quality time with family, but you travel five days a week, you may not be honoring this value.

5.                For each value, think about actions you could take to fix those out-of-alignment situations. Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to correct this situation so I’m honoring my core values?”

If you use the example about family time, maybe one action is cutting back on your travel schedule, or hiring out some household tasks when you’re home so you can spend more quality time with family. Write these down for both life and work even if the actions seem impossible right now.

6.                On both lists of actions, put a check mark next to the actions that are doable for you now or in the near future. Break these actions down into even smaller, easily manageable actions. These actions might involve making calls, rearranging your schedule, delegating some responsibilities, brainstorming a possible career change, thinking of ways to reengage with your spouse, etc.

Once you have a list of values that align with your goals, review it on a daily basis and make sure that the actions you take match these desired outcomes. You may want to focus first on your personal values and then on your professional values. Or you might choose one value from each and start there.

No matter what you pick, be sure to start with the area of your life where you feel the biggest disconnect. This is where you likely feel the most internal pain and mental agitation. Chip away at your action list daily so you can create changes and boundaries that prevent you from mindlessly wandering away from your values again.

Even small, incremental changes can create a huge, positive shift in your attitude. You’ll have a sense of direction and a purpose that feels authentic to you, even if you can’t act on it all immediately. This is an incredibly empowering feeling!

You’ll still have times of transition and upheaval, but this values exercise gives you the tools to navigate through all of life’s ups and downs.