Lazy. Undisciplined. Not motivated. These are just some of the reasons we tell ourselves why we don’t follow through on important goals.
But a lot of times we don’t follow through on goals not because we lack something, but because we haven’t connected our goals to our values. Values are more than just the things that are important to you, values explain why those things are important to you.
For example, you might say one value you have is making a lot of money. No judgment, but making money isn’t your value. Your underlying value is why making money is important to you. So things like security, freedom, and stability would all examples of your values.
Once you know the why behind your goals, you will have the motivation and inspiration necessary to accomplish your goals.
We can set all the goals we want, but if they don’t hold personal meaning or significance, we’re likely not going to follow through in meeting our goals with passion.
Clarify Your Values: The Tree of Values Exercise
The Tree of Values exercise is one clarifying tool that helps people get clear on their values. I use this exercise in my workshops and in my life coaching practice to help my clients discover and/or uncover the ‘why’ behind their goals.
Once there is clarity on our values, it’s easier to set goals and prioritize decisions that are consistent with who we are and what is important to us.
Below you’ll find the questions outlined in the Tree of Life worksheet.
You can print off the Tree of Life picture in this post, or you can draw your own tree and answer the questions below in your journal. Whatever method you choose, it’s important to not judge your answers and simply to write down the responses that first come to your mind.
Step 1: Answer the Tree of Life Questions:
Who are the people who mean the most to you?
What does your everyday life look like?
What are your hopes and dreams?
What are your strengths?
What is important to you about your family/culture/history?
Step 2: Choose Your Top 5 Values
After you’ve responded to the above questions, look over your answers and start circling words that continue to crop up. From the circled words, see if you can group them into 4-5 theme groups.
For example, words like ‘connection,’ ‘family,’ and ‘belonging’ might be able to be grouped under one theme of ‘connection’. Try to narrow down your words into 5 theme groups. These are your top 5 values.
Step 3: Identify Your Top 5 Goals
Now make a list of your top five goals. These goals can be in any area of your life such as: career/business, financial, family/friends, love life, personal/spiritual development, and health/exercise.
Can you identify a value that is connected to each goal? If not, you may want to consider if this is a goal that truly aligns with your deeper personal values, or if it is a goal that you have felt you should accomplish to please others. As mentioned earlier, being able to connect your values to each goal will help you accomplish goals with purpose and meaning.
The Tree of Values exercise is an excellent method to get you started on your journey to setting and accomplishing important goals in your life!
Do you find you still struggle with self-sabotaging behaviours, such as procrastination? This helpful article offers a great strategy to address self-sabotaging tendencies that may be preventing you from reaching your goals.