Do you know what your values are? I’m not talking about the politicized phrase of “family values”. I’m talking about the core traits you want your life to be about. What kind of person do you choose to be? What do you choose to be most meaningful to you and your family?

Values are the qualities that are meaningful and important to you in way that is basic to who you are. Values give our lives meaning. Values are not goals in that we never “accomplish” a value. Instead, values are like a compass–they help us make choices based on the directions in which we want our lives to go.

You can choose from any number of things- there are no wrong values. What direction do you choose your life to go in?

Values are your heart’s deepest desires for how you want to behave as a human being. Values are not about what you want to get or achieve; they are about how you want to behave or act on an ongoing basis; how you want to treat yourself, others, the world around you.

A very annotated list might include:

  • Adventure
  • Caring
  • Compassion
  • Connection
  • Excitement
  • Faith
  • Friendliness
  • Fun
  • Gratefulness
  • Helpfulness
  • Independence
  • Love
  • Order
  • Patience
  • Power
  • Respect
  • Strength
  • Trust

Here is a values worksheet you can download and do the quick exercise.

text: don't just give more attention
text: don't just give more attention
text: don't just give more attention

It is so powerful that you get to choose your values. You get to choose what you want your life to be about. You get to choose what matters to you. Such a big deal!

One way to live your values in your everyday life is a fun little exercise called flavoring and savoring (Harris, 2018). Here’s how it works.

Each morning as you start the day, pick one or two values that you want to experience that day. You can pick whatever you want- it can be different every day or stick with the same ones each day. The power is that it’s totally up to you!

Flavor: look for opportunities to season your day by sprinkling those one or two values into whatever is going on. Give your actions the flavor of these chosen values. Look for ways to be kind, patient, generous, fun- whatever value you chose! When you cook, you sprinkle seasonings to add flavor and it makes the whole meal better. Flavor your day by sprinkling in actions that bring to light the value you chose. See if it makes the whole day better for you.

Savor: Once you’ve flavored your day with values- enjoy it! Pause. Take a beat. Notice how you feel right now. Be proud of yourself. Give yourself a high five (yes, I’m serious). You took intentional action to live your values. That’s a big deal. Celebrate it! Appreciate the difference it makes. Savor the feelings of living your values. Appreciate the difference it makes.

Flavor your day with your chosen values for that day. Savor the fact that you are living your values. Enjoy it. Notice it. Appreciate it.

Find as many opportunities for flavoring and savoring in your day as you can. See what can happen.

Parents- if you want help walking this values-driven life, book a free brainstorming session here: https://www.parentingwithaba.org/coaching/ 

Behavior analysts- join us for the continuing education event “ACT for Parent Training: Values and Committed Action” to learn how to support families in living their values. Sign up here: https://www.parentingwithaba.org/ce-membership-sign-up/