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New Year Discover what matters most to you

by Pauline Cooley
on 08 January 2015

Happy New Year to you all.  Can you believe it. I can’t.  It seems like yesterday we were welcoming 2014.  They do say “time flies when you are having fun”.  Was 2014 your best year yet.  Did you achieve all of your goals and desires.  Do you see an incredible improvement from where you were this time last year.  Well all I can say is WELL DONE.  Its brilliant and it set you up nicely facing into an another incredible year.

However if the answer to that question is NO, and you felt 2014 set you on  a roller coaster ride with tears of joy and sadness all rolled into one, and your goals and dreams disappearing into the never ending daily grind, never mind.  Take a deep breadth, and start again.  You are not alone, and believe me many of us get bogged down into our everyday routines and because we get so busy with “life”, time passes and before we know it, we are at December 31st, and another year has passed and we feel that its never going to happen for us…

Lets look at why this happens to us.  Why is it so many of us feel we are not truly living our dreams and making beneficial changes in our lives.  What is holding us back.  We all know change is difficult, but why is it so difficult?  Lets look at what happens.  We set our new year resolutions in the week between Christmas and New Years Day.  Our list is down, and for the first week, we stick with our resolve.  But sooner or later old habits creep back in and the list is forgotten.  By early spring, the list is a distant memory.  So how do we turn them into permanent change. After all these lists contain our innermost desires and are really important to us.

According to Hyrum W. Smith in his book What Matters Most; The Power of Living Your Values, “Part of the problem is that we have the cart before the horse.  We think that by simply setting our a few vague goals, behaviour changes will miraculously happen.”  He says that “Setting goals is important and necessary, but its not the place to begin”. His suggestion is to delay writing your goals until you have identified your governing values.  So what are governing values. He writes “these are those things in your life that matter most to you, those things without which you would find life meaningless or unfulfilling, those things that lie at the heart of who you are and who you hope to become”. According to the Irish Lifecoach Institute (ILI), “Our values are an expression of our evolving selves.  They are an expression of us in relation to everything around us.  They reflect our choice to be influenced, to control, or be in control, at any moment in time.  The more aware of our values, and their role in our lives, the more we will be in control of our lives”.  So to say our values system is important is an understatement. By putting focus on this aspect of our makeup and paying more attention to it, we have a better chance of living a life full of purpose, happiness and health.

What identifying your values will do for you is.  Well the first thing is you will become aware of what they are.  Secondly you will discover how much they drive your behaviour.  Thirdly you may find that some of your values are blocking you achieving your most important desires.  And, lastly you will learn that you can eliminate or modify values that are harmful and not working for you.

When you get into the process of identifying, clarifying and writing descriptions of what these values are, a renewed sense of peace will come into your life.  You will know that you are in charge, that you are the master of your own destiny.  Making decisions becomes very easy as you relate them to your core values.  I had a client who found it very difficult to say no. She went on one committee after another, and found that her time was no longer her own.  She had a full time job, a family and sat on many committees in her local community.  When she came for Coaching, she was deeply stressed. Following work on her values, she reported she had scaled back her commitments outside the home as her priority was her family.  It was not difficult as she could now identify that while she wanted to contribute to her community, her family was higher on her priority list.  She did not feel guilty about this decision as she found there are many ways of contributing to her community which did not conflict with her family time. “I have definitely grown more comfortable in my own skin and I find making decisions so easy now that I know what is important”.

Our value system has come to us through the beliefs we have grown up with, and which were absorbed from our environment, parents, education, peers, culture, self development, and experience.  Examples of values would be to; be a great role model for my kids, to have job security, to be honest, to be trustworthy, a loyal friend, health and fitness, to live on purpose

So to get you started, I would like you to look at the questions below (taken from What Matters Most)and explore your values.

What are your roles in life?  List them…parent, sister, friend, employee, work colleague etc

Prioritise your roles

What things seem most important about each role identified?

What people activities, or things have real importance for me?

What do I like to do when I’m not under pressure?

What would I do if I had only six months to live?

When my life is over, what will I be glad I did?. What would I like my obituary to reflect?

What special talents or skills do I possess? What do I really do well? 

What do I really enjoy sharing with others?

Are there things I keep feeling inner promptings to pursue?

What am I doing at the time I feel the greatest sense of harmony and inner peace?

What do I consistently think about being or doing someday?

To what am I willing to dedicate my life?

Now look at which of the above reflect what I really want; what I think I should do; what I think others may want me to do? 

After you have gone through those questions, answer this one;

What causes me pain?

This is an important one as the answer may suggest values that are important to you, but about which you are doing little or nothing.  Any of you who have experienced Reiki will know that when we are not living according to our values, pain will manifest in the physical body. Keep refining your answers until you have a clear picture of what is important to you, and what it is you will not compromise on.  Put your list finally in order of priority.

What you are trying to get to is a compact list of things about which you can say “yes! these are the things I really care about and I am willing to spend my time, money and energy on them”.  This is when you know you have identified your core values. This is an ongoing exercise however, as our roles change and circumstances change, values change and the wonderful thing is recognising you have control over these things.  You can decide to eliminate a particular value, change your interpretation or definition of a particular value or give greater priority to a particular value.  Health and fitness at times will be more important than money and you may decide to cut back on hours at work, or family time takes precedence over career etc.  “Identifying and clarifying your governing values can be a tremendously liberating experience.  It can expand your horizons and help you see new possibilities in life” When you discover what matters most, you don’t need to pretend or compare yourself with anyone else” (Hyrum W. Smith).

Best of luck and as always please leave a comment below.  Would love to hear from you.

Grá agus solas


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