Writing inspiration comes from many places. Recently I’ve encountered a few different references about trying to understand what’s really important. This was a great thing to think about moving into a new year.
Karen Hume at Profound Journey talked about her morning journaling: “In selecting and writing about the most important thing that happened to me each day, I find clues as to what makes me happy, grateful, enthusiastic or, occasionally, anxious, worried, or fearful.”
In my reading on adult development it states that achieving Stage 4 (higher order adult development) means your personal actions (what want to do/what actually do) are aligned with your values. Your values being indicative of what’s most important to you.
Another recently read blog post talked about your activities lining up with your values. Essentially, I took that to: can you fill in the statement “I value x, so I spend my time, energy and money on a, b, c” and have it make sense? What a great way of thinking about doing what’s really important!
And still another recent article I was reading about the psychology of retirement stated that understanding your personal values and beliefs in relationship to your activities was crucial to your emotional health in retirement.
Who can fight all this serendipity on values and actions? I felt it was time to relook at my values, what I want, and what I actually do. And at the end of the year, this helps with a good review of the previous year and a possible refocus for the upcoming year — better aligning future activity plans with my values — what’s important to me.
I’ve been writing a morning journal for quite a while now — thanks to the inspiration from Julia Cameron in her book The Artist Way. While she encourages morning journaling about desires, frustrations, celebrations, worries, and gratitude, I find my morning writing tends to be what I did yesterday, how I felt about it, and what I’m planning for today. With the new insight from Karen (above), I’m working to make those morning entries a bit more focused on what’s important to me, but for now it very much lent itself to a look into my activities — both intent and action.
As part of my self-discovery in the early stages of my retirement transition, I clarified my values. So I felt it should be relatively easy to create a series of statements:
“I value x, so I spend my time, energy and money on a, b, c”
And a few were easy. For example: I value belonging so I spend my time creating and implementing intentional connections via blogging, setting up dinners with friends, and planning girlfriend walk & talks.
Because I had both my intentional plans and my actual activities as well as my complete vision statement (I want to be/do) based on my values, my review actually allowed the following chart to be filled in:
|What I want to be/do (vision statement)||What I planned||
What I actually do – how I spend my time and energy
(For those who know me well, you know I love my framework charts!)
As I filled in the chart, some rows had time spent (things I actually do), but not any link to a value – these could be considered time wasters. I spend too much time on mind-numbing iPad games, Facebook looking, and blog reading (stalking only). Interestingly, the new philanthropic activities I’m beginning don’t link to my (current) clarified values. This makes me wonder — do I need to relook at my values? Am I bending to expectation that retirement = volunteering?
I also have more plans (intentions) than I actually do time spent in a couple of my value- based rows. This is something I will work on — turn intention into action! I will be using this chart framework in planning out my 2018 activities… creating a more values-based action plan.
So, are you doing what is really important to you?
Picture Credit: Beauty among the Thorns – Tim Doyle, Africa 2017