Aligning Career and Life Goals with Your Values

If you’re struggling 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.

When our goals are antithetical to our values, success can seem all but impossible.

We don’t like to behave in ways that are counter to our values, so if there’s a mismatch, something has to give.

So stop coming up short when it comes to achieving your life and career goals.

Six keys to establishing your value-driven goals:

1. List your current values.

Have you ever taken the time to examine your values?

Most people have never given their values a second thought.

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

  • Take 30 minutes and list your values. Put them in order of their priority to you.
  • Ask yourself if your behavior is aligned with your values. If there’s a mismatch, what set of values would actually represent your behavior?

Most of us have an idealized impression of our intentions, values, and qualities.

2. Determine what you are trying to accomplish.

What are your goals in life? What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to be wealthy? Get a six-pack? Write a screenplay? Save the whales? Build a real estate empire?

The first step to any great success is to identify your objectives.

3. Figure out how your current values impact your goals.

If your values and goals don’t match, the odds of success are dismal without something changing.

  • For example, if you believe that wealthy people are fundamentally bad, you’ll never accumulate a significant amount of wealth.
  • If comfort is a high priority for you, that six-pack will never materialize.
  • Do you value having a lot of leisure time? A goal that requires a lot of work isn’t going to happen.

Look at your goals and look at your values and be honest with yourself about what you recognize. Do your goals support those values or vice versa?

4. Identify ideal values for supporting your goals.

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?

  • Think about the people you know that have accomplished what you want to accomplish. How would you describe them?

5. Evaluate how close you are to matching those values.

How well can you rearrange your values to match that ideal set of values?

The closer you’re able to come, the greater the odds of your success.

6. Reinforce the values that matter.

Imagine that your goal is to save $20,000 for a down payment on a home.

Let’s suppose that you’ve determined that you need to be someone that values saving money over spending. How can you build this value in yourself and make it a part of you?

  • Prove to yourself that you’re that type of person. For example, pick up pennies you find on the ground and save them. Cut 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.

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

So go back and evaluate whether your goals and values a good match. It’s important that they are because success is much easier when your values and your intentions are highly compatible.