December 31

Do Your Goals Support Your Values?

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In this post, we look at the question of whether your goals support your values since any incongruity can keep you from reaching your goals.

When it comes to achieving any new goal, something I have learned is that if you’re struggling to either…

(1) motivate yourself to pursue your goals, or

(2) to be as successful as you’d like to be,

there’s a great chance that a discrepancy exists between your goals and your values.

But why is it important for your goals and values to align?

It’s important because if our goals are antithetical to our values, you will most likely struggle to reach your goals and success in that important area of your life becomes all but impossible.

Basically, as people, we don’t like to behave in ways that are counter to our values.

When something is important to us, but a mismatch between what’s important to us and what we say we want to achieve (i.e. our goals) exists, something will have to give at some point.

And it’s usually our misaligned goals.

If you’re forever coming up short when it comes to achieving your dreams, goals, or creating new results in your life, there is a high likelihood that your values might be at odds with your goals.

So rather than starting with your goals yet again at the beginning of a new year (2021), perhaps consider spending some time getting clarity on your values and what’s actually important to you.

unmotivated

In my experience, this will save you a whole lot of time since you’d be more likely to be motivated and consistent in your actions towards your goals in the end.

This is a much better approach than having a goal but constantly fighting with yourself internally to motivate yourself to do the things you know you need to do to achieve a goal, but you actually don’t want to do.

So, in the rest of this post, I want to share with you six techniques to set goals that support your values.

The emphasis, of course, will be on clarifying your values, but the end purpose is to do so in relation to achieving your goals.

6 techniques to set goals that support your values:

List your current values.

Have you ever taken the time to examine your values?

What is truly important to you?

Most people have never given their values a second thought.

And that is a shame because a person’s values guide their thinking, decisions, and actions.

So, if you’ve never considered your values or what’s important to you, how can you expect to achieve those things in your life.

But we’re gonna change that right now…

Take 30 minutes and list your values.

Put them in order of their priority to you.

Here’s an example of my personal list:

  1. Freedom (independence, autonomy, liberty, choice)
  2. Faith & Mindset
  3. Fitness & Health
  4. Family & Friends
  5. Finances & Abundance

Once you have that, ask yourself if your behaviour, actions and habits align with your values.

If you notice a glaring and potentially problematic mismatch, what set of values would actually represent your behaviour?

misalignment

This step is important because most of us have an idealized impression of our intentions, values, and qualities even though a huge discrepancy between what we say is important and what or actions say are important, usually exists.

But if you want to achieve your goals, you must bridge that gap and align your goals and values.

What are you trying to accomplish?

Now, ask yourself, what are your goals in life?

What do you want to accomplish?

Do you want to be wealthy?

Get a six-pack?

Write a book?

Save the whales?

Build a real estate portfolio?

The first step to any kind of success in any part of your life, has nothing to do with talent, luck, background, or any of the numerous things many of us convince ourselves of; the first step is getting clarity and by identifying your objectives.

I know this is an old adage, but you cannot hit a target you cannot see.

How do your current values impact your goals?

Now that you have your set of values and list of goals, if your values and goals don’t match, the odds of you succeeding are dismal without something changing.

For example, if you believe that wealthy people are fundamentally bad, you’ll NEVER accumulate any significant amount of wealth.

Not even a little.

Morever, because of that you’ll also most likely keep telling yourself that (1) rich people are this and that, and (2) you don’t really want or need money.

Of course, it’s usually all just BS and you trying to convince yourself to make yourself feel better.

wealthy

Here’s another example…

If comfort is a high priority for you, losing fat and keeping it off will never materialize.

But again, you will most likely tell yourself a story of your family has always been big-boned or how you’re actually happy with yourself … all BS of course.

What if you value having a lot of leisure time?

Well, having any goal that requires a lot of work, like studying or long hours, isn’t going to happen anytime soon because your value will overshadow your goal in the long run.

motivated

Look at your goals and look at your values.

Do your goals support those values?

Do your values support your goals?

What would be the perfect set of values to support your goals?

I want you to imagine you could build a person from scratch that would be perfect for accomplishing your goals.

What values and qualities would they possess?

How would you be different if you had these values?

Now think about the people you know that have accomplished what you want to accomplish.

How would you describe them?

What sets them apart?

What distinguishes them from you right now?

What values do you think they have?

How is that different from yours?

motivation despite adversity

How close can you come to matching those values?

The question now becomes, how well can you rearrange your values to match those ideal sets of values?

Remember, values can be changes.

We can decide what we value and deem important, and we can adjust our lives accordingly.

The point here is, however, the closer you’re able to come to the ideal set of values in relation to your goals, the greater the odds of your success.

Reinforce the values that matter.

Imagine that your goal is to save $30,000 for a down payment on a home.

Let’s suppose that you’ve determined that you need to be someone that values saving money overspending.

The question now becomes,

How can you build this value in yourself and make it a part of you?

Well, a powerful way to do that is to start reinforcing this value through behaviour and decisions.

For example,

  • pick up coins you find on the ground and save them,
  • use coupons,
  • find new ways of dealing with stress other than shopping,
  • save part of your income as soon as your paycheck hits your bank account,
  • create multiple streams of income,
  • sell things you’ve been hoarding,
  • eat at home rather than out,
  • make off rather than buy coffee
  • invest online (e.g Sharesies).
investing

The point here is that,

When you keep proving to yourself over and over again that you possess a value, those actions will build and reinforce that value.

Gideon Hanekom

Take away…

The main take-away question of this post is whether your goals and values are a good match?

Are they aligned or not?

It’s important that they are.

When a mismatch exists, it’s important to either alter your values or your goals since a mismatch will create a lot of resistance a person must overcome.

In the end, reaching your goals becomes much easier when your values and your intentions are highly compatible.



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About the author
Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is a relationship coach and the creator of The Relationship Guy – a Top Marriage Coaching and Relationship Advice Blog that helps married couples create healthier relationships. He is a trained professional counsellor and one of New Zealand’s top relationship bloggers and coaches. He’s been happily married for over fourteen years and is a dad of two.​ He also holds Bachelor and Master degrees in the field of Theology and is currently studying post-graduate Psychology at Massey University.

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