Values Over Resolutions

As you review 2016, and look forward to 2017, don’t choose resolutions. Instead, think about your values.

Values are more versatile than resolutions. They’re also more manageable.

For example, probably the most popular resolution will be “lose weight.” Even if you’ve set a goal amount of weight to lose, the resolution is too far outside of yourself.

Will you skip that extra beer at the party? Will you exercise on certain days? These questions are left to be answered only in the moment.

In the moment, we’ll deceive ourselves into making choices that don’t help us with our resolutions. Just one more. The birthday of our acquaintance from work is a “special occasion.” The gym is crowded this time of day, so we’ll skip it.

Instead, review and decide upon your values. Your values are, well, the things you value in life. What things do you value more than other things?

You might decide that you value being healthy. That might be because you value being alive to watch your kids grow up.

Two things happen when you decide upon a value.

  • One: you give yourself a tool that can help you in any situation. You value your health more than you value worrying about what someone thinks if you turn down a slice of birthday cake.
  • Two: you give yourself control and accountability over your actions. Your values are inside you. They aren’t an external goal that hovers over your head like a black cloud. You don’t run from your values—you grow into them.

By the way, if you decide that you’re going to eat the birthday cake, and have the extra beer—that you value pleasure in the moment over the uncertain outcome of long-lasting health—that’s fine too. You’ll be happier than if you try to be someone you’re not.

I think about my values every year. Sometimes it takes a big whiteboard and a rainbow of sticky notes and lots of journaling to untangle them all. Other times, it’s very clear. But, knowing my values helps guide my decisions and make changes that are hard and scary at first.

These values helped me make the tough decision over the past year to move to South America.

Maybe some of these values resonate with you. Maybe not. Maybe you disagree with the very premise of pitting one of these ideas against the others.

It doesn’t matter what your values are. What’s important is that you strip away the insecurities, face the fears, and dig into your Self to define your values. It will make all of the difference in being the best version of yourself you can be in 2017.