I’m currently reading a book / study related to target setting and how it often ends up that decisions around new habits and life style changes are fading out quietly with time. The book had interesting points around how identifying your own core values might help you to achieve your future targets better. It was a perfect timing for me to come across with this books as I’m in process to define meaningful targets to myself. Thus I thought it will be interesting to give-it-a-shot and test if this tip might help me in my own project and also share these tips with you.
In all simplicity, the book recommends setting your target so that they support your personal core values. If you try to do something that is not really supporting your own values (weather you have consciously acknowledged them or not), it is very likely that your interest towards these activities / topics will fade and gradually you end-up prioritizing the other things in your life that actually take you towards your real values. Idea is that in short term everyone has the motivation to do new things in a new way, but if it’s not really related to your values it’s less likely that these habits stick. Where as in a situation that they would actually support your values, it’s more likely that they will stick and become a new way of working in long term.
As a concrete example: My own target for a while has been that I should “stretch more often”. Occasionally I remember to do it, but in long term it’s always forgotten. One reason for this might be that I have never tied it up to my values and told myself a proper reasons why I should do it? One of my values clearly is “being active” and I don’t unfortunately count stretching very active sport. Thus I feel spending time on it is away from the time I could spend more “efficiently”. If I really want to motivate myself to stretch I should convince myself better how it actually supports my core value “being active” in long term. If I don’t take care of myself by stretching it will increase the likelihood of getting injuries, decrease my trajectories, make my posture worse etc. By understanding this it might be easier for me to set time aside also for stretching as it will actually support my value in long term by making sure I can remain active also tomorrow.
As another example straight from the book is how to get support from values to combine busy family life and sports. Staying active is easily left on second priority when being busy combining work and daily life with small children. One rather spends the few hours left from the day with family than going outside running alone. This is done purely from the reason that family time has higher value than sports. But as in the first example, also in this case it’s good to think this set-up in long term perspective: it might be that maximizing the time with your family is actually impacting the quality of the time spend with your family, e.g. you might feel constantly tired, you don’t have energy to keep up in the children’s plays etc. Could it be that taking care of yourself might also support you in your core value “high quality family time”? If you invest time once a while to go jogging or take a habit to go cycling together with the whole family, you might get energy-boost also to yourself which then helps you to enjoy the common time with your family the fullest.
Things are naturally never this black and white, but at least in my case these examples made me realize that it’s worth thinking one step a head once a while. Identifying which actions support my real values also in long term, might help motivate me to do more of them already today. And also vise versa, to understand which actions don’t actually support my true values, will help me to avoid stressing around them too much as I will actually have better things to do in my life (as an example: as nice as it would be to have hot six-back, is it really bringing me that much joy? Or should I rather skip those last few ab exercises and do few calming down stretches instead ; )
The book also gave a tip that it’s good to list your values down concretely. And after that consider:
- What you are doing already today that take you towards your values?
- What are you doing today that actually take you away from your values?
Inspired by the book I decided to do some self-research and list down my values and current actions related to them. I hope this exercise will hep me to set correct targets for correct reasons to myself and thus increase the likelihood that I’ll succeed in my project of achieving them! Anyway, this will be a topic of it’s own in another post as I think I will need some more time to finish my value-mapping : )