Monday, December 30, 2013

Try an exercise with me for 2014

Looking ahead to 2014…let's do it together!

And just like that, Christmas is over and we wait for New Year’s Eve and what we all hope to be an excellent year next year.(fingers and toes crossed)

I could try to re-cap 2013, the ups and downs and in between’s, but I’d rather just look ahead. 

One way that works for me is to re-think about my top 5 values. A few books I've read (Smart Couples Finish Rich/ The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) discuss this and I think it is the perfect way to start every year, because I find if we make our decisions that are in-sync with our values, we will never be unhappy or empty or have that terrible feeling in the pit of your stomach when something doesn't feel right.
Figuring out your top 5 values is not easy, but imperative. And you don’t have to have 5. Could be 3, could be 4. This task is not easy to do and sometimes they change year over year. I do and re-vamp my value circle every year. They don’t change too much but certain things start melding together, and other things become more or less of a priority as your family composition changes and different things take up more of your attention. So I gave this part a lot of thought and have come up with my five most important values:

Personal Growth

I force Raj to do the same as well because it’s important that one partner knows what the other deems important. It helps when you want support for something and also tells you where you can offer support to your partner when they need it.

I urge you to do this yourself. You will be surprised how much stronger your conviction will be in making certain decisions once you have hammered out your 4-5 values. Saying ‘no’ to the extra slice of cheesecake (health) to reading the same princess story for the fifth time to your toddler (family) won’t be difficult because your values is what makes you and if you want to be focused on you, doing certain things will become quite automatic....most of the times...well more often than if you didn't explicitly state to yourself what they are.

Now, if you’re struggling with what is a value…then I can suggest another exercise. This one comes directly from the 7 Habits book. Picture yourself at your own funeral. You can see and hear everything going on but clearly no one can see/hear you. Now picture your loved ones going to the front and saying a few words about you. What would you want them to say? Distill the stories/lessons into one or two words and this is what your values are. Odds are they aren't words like ‘money’ or ‘rich’ or ‘a hot body’ but more along the lines of, ‘self-made person’, ‘sent flowers every mother’s day’, ‘drove me to every 6 a.m. Saturday practice’, ‘could make anyone laugh’. These things can then be translated into values. Security. Family. Marriage. Freedom. Creativity. Personal Growth. Fun. Adventure.

The list is exhaustive and then picking 5 becomes even tougher. So let’s get to it. Then we can figure out how we get our action plan together to make sure we work towards our values each and every day.

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