Defining my Personal Values

In 2015 I tentatively started my personal development journey. I didn’t know at the time that that’s what it would be be. I started to invest time and energy into knowing myself better and learning to love myself. One of the main things I did in 2015, which has had a bearing on my life ever since, was defining my personal values.

Defining my Personal Values

I spent a few hours sat on my bed with a mess of words surrounding me. In learning more about myself since that moment – I’ve come to realise that I LOVE to collect words.

Honing Values 1

Here’s how I did it:

  • I started off with a big list of values. I printed the list and read each word in turn, adding a star beside the ones that had meaning to me.
  • Something I found helpful when I was working through the list was thinking about the opposites for the words to see how I felt about them. This often helped me find values I felt more strongly about.
  • From that big list I ended up starring approximately 35 words.
  • Next up I listed all of those words onto slips of paper.
  • I found that many of the words I had picked were similar to each other. So I put them into groups.
  • Then I tried to prioritise what I had left and come up with my top values.
  • Eventually I whittled my list of values down to 5.

These values have stuck with me. I guess there’s the possibility they may change in the future and I will review them often to see if they still resonate when compared to other choices.

My Personal Values

Here’s what I came up with:

  • Balance
  • Understanding
  • Integrity
  • Love
  • Diligence

It made me ridiculously happy that when arranged that way they spell out “BUILD”. I like to see it as using my values to BUILD a good life!

Now the interesting thing about these words is they could mean something completely different to you than they do to me.

The Meaning Behind my Personal Values

Value BalanceBALANCE to me is a reminder to myself that life and nature tend to balance themselves out. I need sad times to make the happy times even happier, I need to be healthy and allow myself small treats, I need to re-centre and find my balance when life changes, I need to look at things from many angles to get a balanced view.

 

 

Value Understanding

UNDERSTANDING has a couple of meanings for me and is a combination of quite a few words I first collected. I see it as both empathy and learning.

 

 

 

 

Value Integrity

INTEGRITY is about listening to my intuition and doing what I believe to be right. Trying to make decisions based on my values is an example of integrity.

 

 

 

 

Value Love

LOVE… If I had to pick just one value to live by I would pick Love. To me, Love encompasses everything in life and how I want to approach it. I want to love myself, invest love in my family and friends, love what I do, let love be stronger than fear or hate… But I’m glad I have those other 4 words to snuggle beside it and give some more breadth to my values.

 

 

Value Diligence

DILIGENCE, for me, is about doing my best as much as I can. It’s about improvement and hard work and putting the effort in.

 

 

 

 

 

When I was struggling to narrow my values down from a longer list these were the 5 that I could confidently say that I had used in my life and that I would be happy to live by going forward. They felt like they belonged to me.

How do I use my values in daily life?

  • For a long time after first defining my personal values I had them written down and displayed on a mirror in my bedroom. Each time I passed I could see them. While they were still fresh and new this was a great way to regularly remind myself what my values were.
  • I did some deeper work further defining my personal values once I knew what they were.  (See the images beside each value above). I listed what each one meant to me, characteristics, examples of how I could live that value and what would be in opposition to it.
  • When I set myself goals or am trying to make big decisions I weigh what I’m doing against my values. The thing I’m assessing doesn’t have to fulfil all 5 values but it has to feel right with at least a couple of them.
  • When I’m feeling out of sorts or I find myself procrastinating I revisit my values and try to work out what’s going on. I often find myself putting something off when I can’t see how it fits with my values. Sometimes that means letting that thing go and other times it means working out how it fits in with my values so I can move forward.
  • Choosing to live by my values is one of the ways I Find the Good Everyday.

The process did take time and energy but I found it so worthwhile. It was a worthy investment for sure and has helped me so much with life decisions (big and small) since I did the work of defining my personal values.

Do you have a list of personal values you live by? I’d love to hear more about how you came by them, what they mean to you and how they influence your decisions. Please leave a comment or get in touch.

My NaNoWriMo Plans – writing a novel in 30 days!

Today I want to share my NaNoWriMo plans. One of my major goals for 2017 is to write as much as I can. I wanted to complete my memoir about my 11 years in New Zealand, I wanted to start a blog and I want to take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo – it’s a month long challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during November. Spread across the 30 days it averages 1,667 words a day. It’s a big challenge and it’s designed to get you moving. Leave procrastination, self doubt and any crippling fears about your writing at the door and just get on with it.

NaNoWriMo Participant Badge

My first experience with NaNoWriMo was back in 2007

I was in my mid twenties and living in Palmerston North, New Zealand. I worked full time and was engaged. Amazingly I managed to write a 50,000 word romance novel set in New Zealand. I printed and bound my very rough draft and had great plans to edit it but it wasn’t to be. I still have it somewhere.

Even though I didn’t take that novel any further I still found it a very worthwhile experience. For starters I proved to myself that I could write that many words in a month. And I sat down at the computer each day to write. Even when I doubted the quality of my writing – I didn’t let it stop me – I kept going. I learnt that characters really can come alive as you write their story and they can lead you down a very different path. And I realised how much I loved having written. It felt good to be writing. I was so proud of myself when I did my final submission of words on 30th November 2007 and saw my Winner’s certificate!

NaNoWriMo 2007 Winner

A few weeks later we were setting off on a 5 week travelling adventure – I got busy with preparation for our trip and then with the trip itself and by the time we got home and over the jetlag and back into daily routine my novel lay forgotten.

I’ve made tentative NaNoWriMo plans to join in several times since that first experience and have even started a couple of times but 2007 is the only year I completed the challenge.

Why now?

NaNoWriMo is one of those things that I am confronted with each year…I wistfully remember that hard slog of getting those 50,000 words out with my rose tinted glasses…and I wonder if I should give it a go. The timing hasn’t always worked. Life has changed…I’ve gained a husband and a little boy and moved halfway back across the world since 2007.

But when sitting down to figure out what I wanted my goals to look like this year I came back to the NaNoWriMo idea. November was a long way off back then. I knew I wanted to work as hard as I could to develop my writing skills. It felt right to list it as a goal for later in the year.

How I’m Preparing

As October rolled around I logged into the NaNoWriMo site and updated by profile. I joined the local group on Facebook and hope to meet some fellow NaNos face to face by the end of November! I tuned in to a webcast by the NaNoWriMo official team. They talked through some exercises which really helped the ideas to start flowing.

I’ve given my story a fair bit of thought. I bought a whiteboard and post-its and created a list of things I know about my story and questions I had. I wouldn’t say I have a full synopsis but it’s a start!

Can I do it?

As the time has edged closer to the start of November I’ve started second guessing myself.

  • Will I have time?
  • Can I do it?
  • Can I fit it around everything else I have going on?
  • Is it fair to my family?
  • What about getting ready for Christmas?
  • How does it fit with my other goals?
  • Is my idea crap?
  • What if I write myself out and never want to write again?
  • What if I fail at NaNoWriMo when I’ve declared my intent on my blog?

I’ve managed to talk myself back around. So what if I fail? At least I will have tried! And if I declare my intent I am less likely to give up! I love some outer accountability (more on that coming up in November!).

So I’m here – poised with a half baked story idea and no idea where it’s going to lead me. One of the ways I Find the Good Everyday is to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone. Attempting to write a 50k novel in 30 days is a way I can do that while working on my goal of becoming a better writer.

I am hoping that on this 10th anniversary of my first NaNoWriMo effort and only completion that I will finally be able to win again!

Here’s to a novel filled November 2017!

If you are have NaNoWriMo plans this year or have attempted it in the past I would love to hear from you – please leave a comment or drop me a line!

How I’m Building a Daily Yoga Practice

building a daily yoga practice

One way I’ve been trying to Find The Good Everyday in 2017 is by building a daily Yoga practice. What a difference this ritual has made to my wellbeing! All of my practices are at home and I mostly use videos that are freely available on YouTube.

My starting point

I’d done the odd yoga class in the past and I attended regular Pilates classes a couple of years ago. I had also dipped my toes into Yoga with Adriene’s youtube channel but hadn’t got into the habit of practicing yoga with any regularity.

For 2017 I set myself the goal of completing Adriene’s Yoga Revolution as it was shared throughout January.

To prepare myself, I:

  • got myself some outer accountability by declaring my intentions on Instagram
  • set myself the task of sharing a photo on Instagram each day to confirm I’d done the practice
  • set a daily reminder on my phone to DO the yoga!
  • created a checklist in my bullet journal to check off the days as I went.

A sense of achievement

Yoga Revolution was a success! When I got to Day 31 I was so incredibly proud of myself that I’d completed it. I totalled up the amount of time I spent practicing yoga in January…15 hours 22 minutes!

During those 31 days I begun to feel:

  • stronger,
  • fitter,
  • more relaxed,
  • at peace,
  • more flexible and
  • more aware within my own body.

All these benefits meant I wasn’t ready to give up anytime soon.

Namaste

Moving from the 31 day challenge to building a daily yoga practice

I kept going by choosing daily from the huge catalogue of videos available for free on You Tube. I kept the reminders in my calendar and a monthly log in my bullet journal so I knew what practices I had done and how long I was practicing each day. February and March passed by with yoga becoming a core part of my daily routine.

My newly developed routine was shaken up in April when we were away from home for over a week. Adriene also offers a paid subscription service. The subscription has an app allowing you to download practices to your phone to view at any time. With our trip approaching I made the call that it was worth investing in. I felt I had certainly got my money’s worth (before I’d paid anything!) from the access to free videos on YouTube. Plus the money paid is used to fund more free content which is available to everyone.

And I’ve just kept going from there. I mostly do the YouTube practices via our TV in the lounge. If we are away or I need to find a quieter space I play videos on my phone.

Allowing myself to pick practices based on my mood, schedule and energy levels has meant that I haven’t given up. I can always find a practice that suits me on any given day. To me, it still counts as practicing yoga even if it’s a 5 minute video or learning the corpse pose!

Keeping my interest levels up

yoga by candlelight

I found as the months went by that my daily average practice was decreasing. Often I would find myself leaving yoga until the end of the day when I’d pick a quick practice so I could take myself off to bed. I’ve done a few things to challenge this habit and ensure I am making the most of my Yoga practices:

  • In June I took part in an online week long retreat.

    For each day there were a couple of suggested practices, a journalling prompt and another activity such as a nature walk or meditation. This was fantastic for breaking me out of what had become my yoga comfort zone, trying some new practices and immersing myself in yoga!

  • Then in August I completed a week long Yoga Ritual series for paid members.

    This came with a calendar which offered a daily 15 minute yoga practice plus 5 minute meditation. Adriene suggested to start each day with a glass of water with lemon and go on a daily walk. There was also a daily prompt which you could journal or ponder about.

  • And in September I made the call to work through the 30 Days of Yoga challenge

    This has probably been the most challenging series I’ve done but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

Having surpassed 275 days of yoga, I am now approaching 300! The ultimate goal is to close out 2017 with a 365 day streak.

Overcoming injuries and time restraints to get it done!

pyjama yoga

There have been days when it’s been really tough trying to get to the mat. I had tendonitis in my wrists a couple of times and chose to do hands free practices until I was recovered so I didn’t break my streak.

I’ve been poorly and done “Yoga for When You Are Sick” several times and there’s been a couple of days when I’ve found myself doing “Yoga for When You’re Angry” and “Yoga to Calm Your Nerves”. All great practices!

Some days have ended up with just a 5 minute practice from the “Quickies” series and other days I’ve done over an hour of yoga. It’s been a fantastic experience and the benefits I experienced after the first 31 days have increased with the more time I’ve spent on the mat. I’ve also found that, for me, it’s easier to commit to doing something DAILY rather than a few times a week.

 

I’d love to hear from you if you’re a fan of yoga or this post inspires you to try building a daily yoga practice. Namaste.

How do I Find the Good Everyday?

Given the name of this blog I thought it would be a good idea for me to share the things I do to help me Find the Good Everyday.

At the beginning of 2017, as part of my annual goal setting and review of the previous year, I came up with a list of self-nurturing daily habits I wanted to adopt. Some of these things I was already doing but not as often as I’d like. Other items on the list were reminders of positive actions I could take daily to feel happier.

Below is the list I come up with. I’ve added some brief detail about each item and over the coming weeks I plan to share more details of some of these habits as individual posts.

Find the Good In...series

Self-nurturing daily habits to help me Find the Good Everyday

  • Start the day with Morning Pages

    Morning pages is a journalling technique suggested by Julia Cameron who wrote a book called The Artist’s Way.  She suggests that each morning, on waking, you journal 3 pages of stream of conscious writing.  You should do this before anything else – before your mind has too much time to wake up. The pages often end up being filled with whinging, what you need to get done that day and sometimes nonsense! What this does is clear all of the random muddle from your head first thing in the day and free up some space for creative thinking. I’ve been writing Morning Pages most days since October 2015. I am a convert and do not like missing a day.

  • Yoga &/or stretch every day

    I’m a fan of both yoga and pilates and have done each with various levels of consistency over the years. I have never regretted doing a yoga practice or a pilates workout but often the biggest battle was getting myself to the mat and ready to go. Rather than decree a set amount of exercise I should do each day I decided to be gentle with myself. I’m pleased to say that so far this year I have completed a yoga practice every day. Some days it’s 5 minutes and some days much longer. I feel much stronger and more flexible as a result of daily practice and it also helps to quieten my mind.

  • Drink 1.5-2 litres of water each day

    I’ve always been happy to drink water and it’s usually my first choice for drinking. And yet I wasn’t in the habit of consistently drinking enough. So this year I stepped it up, and with some help from a measured bottle I soon got in the regular habit of drinking enough each day.

  • Seek ways to live out my values and my core desired feelings and be DARING

    A couple of years ago I did some personal development work to define my personal values. It was time consuming and involved but it has helped steer my decisions and life choices ever since.  I learnt about Core Desired Feelings from an online retreat I took part in which led us through The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. I added my Core Desired Feelings to my values to help me define how I wanted to feel and what I believed in. And as part of my annual goal setting I picked DARING as my word for the year. (In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I LOVE to collect words!) This habit on my list reminds me to check in with all my “words” regularly.

  • Tell my boys I love them so

    I’m fairly certain I do quite well at this one without having the reminder on my habits list! But telling (and showing) my husband and son that I love them each and every day is an awesome thing to achieve each day and an important aspect of my relationships with them both.

  • Make lots of healthy choices and allow myself little treats

    Sometimes I think I’m an all-or-nothing person and other times I think moderation is key. I’m still not 100% certain which camp I fall into but the thought of giving up treats made me sad so this habit seemed the best option for me. And it’s working. I recommend it.

  • Practice self love and self care

    Self love and self care practice are what this whole list is about! I thought it was important to remember that focus and this is a great reminder to seek other ways to Find the Good Everyday as well as the ones I specifically listed.

  • Finish each day by documenting my gratitude

    This is a habit I’ve had and dropped several times over my adulthood when my routines have changed. And I always return to it. Sitting in bed each evening I write a brief list (usually 3 things) of the things I’ve been most grateful for that day. Some days are tougher than others to come up with a list but I always manage something!

    Conclusion

I may not always do everything on this list every day but over the course of this year I have developed them as regular habits.  I am already thinking ahead to see how I can update or amend this list next year for improvement.

I’m looking forward to exploring some of these habits more on the blog over the coming weeks and months.

Do you have any daily habits that help you Find the Good Everyday? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment or feel free to contact me directly.

Helping YOU to Find the Good Everyday

Freebie intro

When you sign up as an email subscriber you will receive a free How to Find the Good Everyday printable workbook. It contains tips and suggestions for building daily rituals and routines to nurture yourself to feel happier, healthier and in balance. There are sections to work through followed by a handy printable to complete and display as a reminder of your intentions.

You can sign up HERE to receive the workbook and read more about it HERE.