Are you Aligned with Your Values?  

What do you really value?   Well, an interesting way to find out is to keep track of how much money you spend on different things.  Another way to notice what you really value is to track how much time you spend pursuing various areas of your life.

Admittedly, doing this can be a bit depressing and confronting.  We like to think we value things like love, family, contribution, and health.  Yet, when we look at where we spend our time and money, we often see that we really seem to value security, comfort, and entertainment more than the things we say we hold dear.

For example, when I did this I listed “peace of mind” as my number one value.  After all, I meditate for an hour every day, and I do indeed spend money on things that bring me peace (such as my “shortcuts to awakening” CD that you can learn about at www.ShortcutsToAwakening.com).  However, when I added up all the time I spend watching TV (an hour a day), plus money for cable, Netflix, and movies, it came out to significantly more than what I “spend” on peace of mind.  Ouch.

Yet, in the world of personal transformation, feeling “ouch” can be good. That’s the beginning of change.  As I saw that my actions were not fully aligned with my values, I decided to spend less time watching TV and movies, and more time in nature (where I often find peace).

To do this exercise yourself, try listing 7 values in descending order.   The values I suggest you rate are:

Love; Health; Security; Adventure; Contribution; Peace of mind; Entertainment.  For example, you might rate these values in this order of importance:

  1. Peace of mind
  2. Love
  3. Health
  4. Contribution
  5. Adventure
  6. Security
  7. Entertainment

Of course, this isn’t a full picture of what you value, but it’s a good start.  Once you are clear what your top 3 values are, look at your calendar and checkbook (or credit card statement) to see if you really spend much time or money in those areas.  Then, with your bottom four values, do the same.  Check to see approximately how much time and money you spend on them.

If you’re like most people, you’ll notice something pop out at you.  You may notice that you spend A LOT on something that you rated your lowest value, or perhaps you spend very little on something you say is the number one most important thing in your life.  That’s good information.  Hopefully, that information will motivate you to get some help and rearrange priorities in your life.

Our lives are shaped by the decisions we make.  Our decisions are shaped by our values.  When our values are not aligned with the time and money we spend on various priorities, we feel stressed and off purpose.  By doing this simple exercise, you can begin the process of arranging your life to sync up with what’s really most important to you.  When that happens, you’ll feel fully on purpose, and ridiculously happy.

About Jonathan Robinson

Jonathan Robinson is a psychotherapist, a bestselling author of "More Love Less Conflict," and 11 other books, and has been a frequent guest on Oprah and CNN. He can be reached at: iamjonr@aol.com or his website: FindingHappiness.com

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