A few weekends ago, our little family was in the backyard enjoying the summer weather. There were popsicles, splashing in the baby pool, and our daughter was running barefoot in the grass in between watering the vegetable garden with a tiny watering can. While soaking in the moment, my husband turned to me and shared the Incubus song lyric playing in his head:
…and in this moment I am happy.
I also felt a sense of joy this past weekend when the three of us attended our church’s summer festival. This was the first time our daughter really experienced the carnival rides, games, live music, shaved ice, and more. I don’t know how much she’ll remember as a two year-old, but I’ll remember how much fun I had watching her ride the flying elephants and slurping the last drops of melted shaved ice.
Have you ever had a moment like that? When you realize what brings you joy and makes you really happy? Dig deep and you’ve discovered one of your personal values.
Values are enduring principles that define what is important to you. They guide your personal choices and actions, and they also determine how you define and pursue your purpose.
A short list of values include: community, excellence, family, flexibility, fun, generosity, happiness, learning, peace, security, service, and truth. Based on the first two stories, it’s clear that my husband and I value “family.”
Carl Richards offers another approach for determining your values. Pull out your recent credit card and bank statements (or pull up the last few months of activity on Mint) and review where you spent the most money. How you spend your time and money is a reflection of what you really value. Does anything surprise you?
If your spending or saving doesn’t align with what you said was really important, maybe it’s time to make a change. Maybe it’s time to redefine your values. Or maybe it’s time to adjust your finances to support your true priorities.