Increasing Meaningful Behaviors Part 2
Based on the positive response to my blog on Increasing Meaningful Behaviors, I thought it worthwhile to extend the discussion. As you now know, values can play an important role in our lives and help guide us through the environmental “noise” we interact with on a daily basis. Without deliberately using your core values as a way to find direction or purpose in life, the world around you may be actively encouraging behaviors you find inconsistent with who you want to be. In our current social and economic environment, the volume on the noise level seems to be cranked up to eleven, making it all the more difficult to practice values-based behaviors.
Developing habits out of values-based actions, like developing any other habit, takes deliberate planning and practice until these behaviors produce enough reinforcement to be maintained over time. Planning is the critical next step after someone has spent the time determining what they truly value. Planning allows you to successfully set goals, identify actions that will help you achieve those goals, as well as prompt and celebrate your values-based actions. Planning should consist of two phases: 1) goal-setting and 2) weekly planning of prompting and celebrating values-based actions. It is the second phase that I want to focus on for the remainder of this blog.
Identifying your core values and some actions that will help you be a values-based human being is an important first step. Once these behaviors have been identified, planning is necessary to create environmental support to ensure they are both prompted to occur and reinforced when they do occur. One way to help with this is to keep a weekly log (or journal) to record both what you want to do and how it went after you engaged in one of your dedicated actions. I personally use a small Field Notes book that I write in but you could use anything. The important piece is what you track, not how you track it.
Start the week by spending some time determining the actions you plan to do that are in-line with the values or goals you have set for yourself. Use the log to write down the value you want to align with, what (if any) reminders you will use to prompt the behavior, and the action (behavior) you plan to do, leaving a spot to fill in the result of that action. As you complete each action, write down the result. With the result, think about the word impact, and answer one or more of the following questions:
- What impact did my action produce on me (on others, on the organization)?
- How did I feel while I was doing the action?
- How does that action help me be in alignment with my values?
At the end of each week, reflect on the actions you did and on how it helped you to become a values-based human being.
Developing a weekly plan to create alignment with your values will help you take that inspiration and turn it into deliberate action. By creating something as simple as a log, you are setting up an environment that supports your value-based behaviors and helps you navigate through the environmental noise that we are all facing today. Reviewing and reflecting on your values-based actions at the end of the week can give you the motivation to continue down your values-based path. I hope you can find ways to be more values-based as we all get through this together. Behave wisely my friends.