Are you planning your career path? Thinking of a career change? Preparing for a lifestyle make-over? The first step in embarking upon a mission in your life is to create a statement of personal values.
A statement of personal values is a definition of one’s purpose for existence. It provides a picture of what you want to focus on, what you want to achieve and who you want to become. It is something you can read from time-to-time to keep you on track towards your goal. When your aspirations and your actions are not aligned, you become unhappy and dissatisfied. When your actions support your aspirations, you have a sense of fulfillment. Important life decisions are easier to make when you are armed with a statement of values. If you do not have a statement of personal values yet, perhaps it is about time you write one.
There is no hard-core rule on how to write a statement of personal values. It is as unique as each person writing it. One important thing to remember is that writing a statement of personal values is a personal activity. Write what you want for yourself and not what others want you to be. The bottom line: your statement of personal values should guide you in how to live your life. Here are some tips to help you write your own:
1. Start with a vision
Envision who you want to be at a particular time in your life. This would be the time when you will be happy and contented as you would have achieved what you want to reach. For example, if you are making a statement of personal values in preparation for a career change, envision where you want to be on the corporate ladder ten years from now. Now work backwards and identify realistic objectives that you need to fulfill to reach that stage in your life.
2. Label your roles and goals
After identifying your objectives, break them down into categories. Classify them according to your life roles (e.g. husband, father, employee, citizen) and the corresponding goals you aim to fulfill for each role. Each role and goal complements your other roles and goals, so it is important to strike a balance among them all.
3. Determine what you value most
For each of your roles, identify what is important to you. What are your personal ethics, social values, and work values? These values are very important in mapping out your action plan to fulfill your goals. They will determine how and where you will spend your resources.
4. Create action statements
Now that you have determined your purpose in life, it is time to write an action plan. Create specific action statements that you need to carry out in your daily life. For example:
“I will (indicate specific actions or behaviors) in order that I may (indicate what you want to achieve or become) so that (indicate reasons why it is important).”
"To live each day with (indicate value/s or principle/s) so that (what living by these values will result to) I will (indicate specific actions or behaviors).”
"I value (indicate value/s or principle/s) because (indicate why value/s is/are important). Accordingly, I will (indicate specific actions or behaviors).”
5. Review your Statement of Personal Values
Keep your written work for a few days and go back to it with a fresh eye. Does it convey what you want for yourself? Make the necessary revisions until it expresses what you precisely intend for your life.
6. Post your Statement of Personal Values
Place a copy of your statement of values where you will see it often, so that you are constantly reminded of what you have to do to achieve your goals.
7. Revise over time
A single statement of values does not have to be a permanent guide throughout your lifetime. Life continuously changes, and you grow personally as you fulfill more of your goals over time. Revise your statement of values to accommodate the changes that have occurred in your life.
Congratulations on following these steps in writing your statement of personal values! You have just taken the first step towards the wonderful journey of a purpose-driven life.