Will questioning our values make us happier?
The decisions we make in life are often dictated by our values and beliefs. Most of your values and beliefs would have came from those around you as you grew up; friends, family, teachers, peers. The values and beliefs that we have are what have shaped us into who we are today.
The values and beliefs we have are what empower us to take action but also what holds us back at times. If you look back at your life you can often recall where they came from. Write down what your values and beliefs, ask yourself where they originate from and look for evidence to back them up.
For example being told you are clumsy by an aunt when you were a child may have caused you to grow up believing that you are clumsy. Interestingly when you look back at your life you are most likely to recall events and occasions when you dropped or damaged something. However by turning things around and looking for situations where you have not been clumsy, dropped things etc and focus on times where you have can evidence this is not the case your views may change.
Your values and beliefs could be holding you back from succeeding in life; impacting on decisions you take. For example, not starting a new relationship because you were hurt previously, not seeking career progression as you are worried your peers may resent your success and your relationships may suffer, not losing weight because you have been unsuccessful previously.
Just because you have been unsuccessful previously does not mean that you are a failure, it just means that you may need to look for other resources or skills to help you achieve what it is you are seeking to do.
What is it that makes you happy?
Take some time out with a pen and paper;
- Write down 10 things you love doing.
- Put the list in order as to the things you enjoy doing most at the top of the list.
- Write down next to each answer at least 7 things about what it is that you love about it.
- Now write down 10 things you hate doing.
- Again put the list in order and put the things you most dislike doing at the top.
- Ask yourself what it is about each thing that you least like doing and why, try to come up with 7 answers for each.
- Ask yourself if there is any evidence to support why you dislike the things you hate doing? Has something been said or done to make you feel this way.
- Now ask yourself what 7 things could you do to make doing each activity more enjoyable.
- Do you feel differently about them differently now?
- Are you willing to give them a go?
This is more than just identifying a list of things that you really like doing and the things that you hate doing. The reasons why you like or dislike something often comes down to the values and beliefs you have. This is normal, as is the desire to challenge our ways of thinking so that we can live a happier more fulfilled life.
The same process applies when you are setting goals. The secret to great goal setting is more than just writing a list of ‘wants’. Take time to set goals around things that you love to do and this will make them easier to achieve. If you come across challenges do not give up, look at the challenge and explore ways to get around them, is the challenge down to your values and beliefs? If so, look for evidence to disprove a limiting belief and identify ways that you are able to move forward.
When you live your life in accordance with your values and beliefs you will be happy and fulfilled. If you have limiting beliefs that are not serving you it is fine to question where you got the belief from and seek to replace it with a more empowering belief that will serve you better.
When should you make a start? No time like the present! Why put off what you can do now?
(c) Written Aly Sproat, Newcastle Performance Coaching
Managing Values and Beliefs in Organisations by Tom Mcewan
A Good Childhood: Searching for Values in a Competitive Age by Richard Layard and Judy Dunn
Good Question!: The Art of Asking Questions to Bring About Positive Change by Judy Barber and Richard Wilkins
Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill by Matthieu Ricard
Happiness: Lessons from a New Science by Richard Layard
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler
The How of Happiness: A Practical Guide to Getting The Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky
The Rough Guide to Happiness: Practical steps for all-round well-being (Rough Guide Reference) by Nick Baylis and Rough Guide
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