A Simple Exercise to Take You Toward Your Highest Self

BIRTHFIT’s definition of MINDSET: To create space between a stimulus and response, to practice a growth perspective, and to create action around values in order to make decisions from a place of love rather than fear.

This is a fully loaded definition that can be broken down into many learnings, but the one that always sticks out to me is creating action around values. Every decision we make, every conversation or response we have, and every action that we offer will serve us best if they align with our personal core values. I often wonder how many people walk around everyday actually KNOWING their core values? Surely if they are this important, we should all be able to rattle them off at any moment, right? This made me dig deeper to get clear on my own core values and I want to share the process I used to arrive at a clear answer.

The first thing we need to establish is what values are. According to the Oxford Dictionary, values are defined as: “Principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgement of what is important in life.”

They determine your priorities and are usually an indicator of if your life is turning out the way you want it to or not. When the things we do and the way we interact align with our values, we generally feel happy and satisfied. When our actions and behaviors don’t match up to our values, that may lead us to being unhappy with what is going on or where we are at in our lives. It is important to note that our values are flexible and have boundaries. They may change with ebbs and flows of our lives and re-establishing our values from time to time may be important as change and growth occur in our lives.  

How to Determine Your Core Values

I use a simple 5 step process.

  1. Think of 3-5 people you most look up to, admire, and aspire to be like in your life. Write down their names.
  2. Go through each individual and write down 3-5 qualities or personality traits that you most admire about them.
  3. Go back through this list and circle 3-5 of these qualities that jump out at you. Maybe these are the qualities that resonate most with your life right now or maybe they are what you’ve always aspired to be.
  4. Try these qualities on. For one week, focus on your actions, behaviors, and conversations centering around the alignment of these values.
  5. Determine if after trying these qualities on for a week, you feel as if your life has been more aligned with your highest sense of self.  Did they make you better? Did they bring you clarity? Did you feel less stress/shame/resentment around your actions? If so, you might have found your personal values! If not, or maybe not entirely, try the exercise again with a few new qualities until they feel right for you.

Though this is a simple exercise, it may not be easy and might take some time. Keep it simple and try not to overthink the process. Sometimes it may help to have a word bank of core values to get your mind going in the right direction. Once you have determined what your personal values are, I encourage you to write them down in several places where you will see them daily. Start to build a habit and a practice of keeping these values at the forefront of your brain so that they can guide you through any decision, response, action, or behavior that you make.

Leah Barto

BIRTHFIT Houston BIRTHFIT Houston FB @birthfithouston
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