The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the past and think about how you want to evolve in the future. Maybe you want to replace the word “should” in your vocabulary with “could” and stop shaming yourself in this way. I like to use this time for personal reflection and how I want to live with more connection and purpose.
My core values are family, service, and compassion. These values help me prioritize my life in a way that feels more purposeful, even when I have to do things that I really don’t want to do.
Here’s an example...my kids are begging for my attention and I am distracted by emails. I am trying to be productive and responsive. My kids start getting louder and louder and then start fighting with one another.
Remembering my first value is family (because it is written on a note next to my computer), I am able to see this pull of attention and prioritize my children (for now) and get to my email later (if there isn’t a need to respond right away). We all feel more connected and energy deescalates.
Core Values Exercise
I did core values exercise in a training run by the Compassion Institute that was so helpful and something I still reflect on, so I thought it would be fitting for this week’s blog.
Life in Thirds
Step 1: Think about the first 1/3 of your life. Set a timer for 3 minutes and write (or share with your partner/friend) about this part of your life. Try not to think too much, just write/talk freely. When the timer goes off, stop. If you are doing this with a partner, they can make a few notes and just listen, no responding or reacting.
Step 2: Repeat step 1 for the next 1/3 of your life. Repeat again for the last 1/3 of your life so far.
Step 3: If you were writing, look back and use this information to develop 1-2 values for each third of your life that you described. If you shared with a partner, have them repeat to you what they heard to stand out as most important, helping you to develop a core value for each part of your life.
Step 4: Make a list of these values and put them in a place you will see them every day, for one week. Look at them and think about how they fit into your daily life, and how you might want to edit them over the course of the week.
Step 5: Develop 3-5 core values and use them to guide your daily decision-making. Keep in mind, core values change as we evolve. I like keeping mine in eyesight every day and staying open to life circumstances that may lead to adding or taking away from the list.
Having these daily reminders of what is most important to us as individuals, can help bring a little bit of light, even on the hardest days.