You know we’re all about living a life of intention and purpose here at Day Designer. And one of the simplest ways that we design our own intentional lives is through values-based planning. In other words, we plan our lives—from day to day—based on what’s most important to us.
Why is values-based planning important—so important, in fact, that we think it will change your life? Because your personal values are part of the core of who you are. As we mentioned last week, building a life (personally and professionally) that is based on your values will keep you energized, motivated, and excited. When you’re clear on your values, they guide how you behave and the decisions you make. And when you prioritize your activities and relationships around what you value most, you will focus your precious energy exactly where it needs to be.
When planning our days, weeks, months—so essentially, our lives—it’s all too easy to become bogged down by what we think we “should” do. If your day-to-day to-do list or your quarterly goals feel misaligned with the work that makes you happy, the relationships that help you thrive, and the activities that challenge you to grow, then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the foundation upon which you’re designing your life.
In last week’s post, we talked about the importance of defining your core and shared a free Core Elements Worksheet to guide you through that process. If you completed the exercise, then you identified your values. Revisit the worksheet and review what you listed there. Do you value family? Honesty? Creativity? Keep in mind, there are no “right” or “wrong” values—remember, this is not about what you “should” value or what you “should” do—this is specifically unique to you.
Now ask yourself: are you designing a life that other people want you to lead? Or are you designing a life that’s intentionally built upon what is most important to you?
If you’re having trouble thinking of what you value most, ask yourself:
✓ What is most important to me? List three qualities, relationships, or activities that I value above all else.
✓ When do I feel the most authentic and aligned? What am I doing? Where am I? Who am I with? What do these experiences share in common?
✓ What are the most common values? (You can find a comprehensive list right here.) Which of these stand out the most to me and connect with me?
Look at your answers to the questions above and select 5 core values. Write them on a Post-it note (or a few Post-it notes!), and place them where you’ll see them every day—on your bathroom mirror, near your computer, on the refrigerator, and more. Write them at the top of your daily to-do lists and use them to prioritize your activities for the day. Consider them when you sit down to set your goals for the year (or the month or the week). Remember them when you’re reviewing the relationships in your life, and consider who is getting the majority of your time, energy, and attention.
You only get so many hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month, months in a year, and years in a life—make sure you’re intentionally designing each of those in alignment with what’s most important to you.
Our values should be at the core of everything we do. And when you’ve carefully identified and planned your life around them, you will be living a life with intention and purpose.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Your values become your destiny.” Whatever your values may be, be proactive about prioritizing the activities, people, and experiences that help you create a destiny worth living.