Why We Need to Align Our Actions With Our Values
Updated: Oct 29, 2020
Values are the principles or system of belief that govern our opinions, choices and actions.
Usually, we would act according to what we believe.
But sometimes, circumstances force us to do things that we don’t believe is right or that is not 100% what we want to do or strive for.
We say we value freedom and stress-free life, but we work in a stressful corporate job that we don’t quite enjoy.
We prefer a thoughtful and caring person, but we continue dating someone who is abusive and indifferent to our needs.
We say we love animals and believe that they deserve to live freely like us, but we continue to put them in cages and expect them to be on our dinner plates.
Do you see how incongruent our lives seem to be?
What we say we believe might not translate very well into what we do in our day-to-day.
But why should you align your actions with your values?
I mean, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
You can continue living like a hypocrite, being untruthful to your loved ones and yourself, and constantly feel like life isn’t enough.
……or you could stop whining, get your shit together and live your best life.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but it will be satisfying.
Because when your actions are completely aligned with your values…
You feel fulfilled
Doing what you like to do, even with all the challenges and hardship, would make you happy.
You can give your very best
When your cup is full and you don’t dread doing the work, you’re more likely to give everything you’ve got.
You live a meaningful life
When you know why you do what you’re doing and that what you do is what you believe in, every step you take feels worthwhile.
How to align action with values?
One of the reasons we may not act according to what we believe in comes down to social/cultural norms and pressure.
It may seem like we don’t have a choice – our parents want us to do this or achieve that. Not wanting to disappoint them, we obey.
But once you realise that it’s not worth living someone else’s dreams or a version of what life should be, you can step out of the matrix.
Before you roll your eyes, give it a try. You don’t have to meditate for 10 hours or even stop thinking of anything.
Just set the timer for 10 mins, and talk to yourself in your head. Ask yourself, “What do I truly believe in and what would I like to do?”
We’re often caught up in the noise of the world be it the city life or social media, which often affect our decision-making. So it’s good to be in a quiet place with just our unimpeded thoughts.
2. Write down your values
After you meditate and explore your messy thoughts, write them all down.
I’m a huge believer in writing down what you think to make your thoughts seem more real. What was once intangible is now on paper and you could actually see it.
But if you’re not the writing down type of person, you could also record a voice note or create a song out of it. Whatever it is, it’s recorded somewhere that’s out of your brain.
3. Set timelines and deadlines
This is where you take action and it’s probably the most difficult part.
Once you’ve written down your values and what you would like to achieve, including the potential action steps, make sure you give yourself a timeframe or deadline.
Some things like “try going vegan” may not have a deadline, so you could set one month for that action step.
Things like “quit my job” would ideally have a deadline, so you set a specific date for it on your calendar.
Cue Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life”
You may have been brought up by someone.
You may think that you owe them something.
But the fact is that it’s your body you’re living in. It’s your soul that inhabits your body.
And however much you want to blame them for your current situation, blame yourself even more for not doing anything about it.
So take the necessary steps forward to create the life that you want to live.
Fight for what you believe in.
It’s not going to be easy. You may feel like giving up.
But that’s when you remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Because you know that your vision will be worth all the effort.