The 1st of 5 Habits to Build a Rich and Fulfilling Life

If building habits adds order and consistency to your life then choosing which habits to develop becomes very important.

The first habit I recommend is reviewing your top three values on a consistent basis. How consistent? Initially you want to review them monthly until they become top of mind.  Your values, also known as guiding principles are to you like the North Star is to the sailor, constant and a trusted guide.  They are like an invisible force constantly directing you especially at key moments like major decisions. Your values represent that which matters in your life. Some people substitute the word principle, a fundamental truth or proposition, for the word value. Let’s explore the benefit to values.

In his book, ‘How We Decide” Jonathan Lehrer  described  that Benedetto de Martion, a neuroscientist, conducted experiments and found that “’People who are more rational don’t perceive emotion less, they just regulate it better.’ How do we regulate our emotions? The answer is surprising simple: by thinking about them.  The prefrontal cortex allows each of us to contemplate his or her own mind, a talent psychologist call metacognition….The prefrontal cortex can deliberately choose to ignore the emotional brain.” If our emotions originate from self-awareness then perhaps Aristotle was really onto something when he concluded, in The Nicomachean Ethics, “that the key to cultivating virtue was learning how to manage one’s passions….rationality wasn’t always in conflict with emotion.” Values then can guide us from and through emotions.  

Then there are the phrases that are still as relevant today as they were centuries ago when first uttered or penned: “know thyself, ” “ to thy own self be true,”  Knowing oneself and being true to oneself includes the element of knowing what matters, at the core, in what order, to yourself. Values then can be the basis from which you conduct your life. The benefit to this is that they can precede an emotional outburst or inappropriate decision. 

I always thought I knew what my core values were. They were obvious, so I thought until someone asked me what they were. I hid behind vague words and meanings. I couldn’t articulate them, not really. I dismissed the discomfort I felt at not really knowing what my guiding principles were. About twenty years ago I went through a values exercise and it changed my life. It was hard for me to actually choose my values. But once I did, it was like a fog had lifted, a fog that had covered me most of my life.  I understood to the core, the benefit of values and how, when you know them, you can live a richer and fulfilling life. That was worth everything to me.

Now I offer the guidance so you can really know your values and always have your north star to guide you, without fail.

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