Key Factors in Aligning Values & Actions

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
~William Shakespeare

Worldly pressures, images and persuasions can be confusing and often misleading. If we are not careful, we can quickly stray from our original goals. We are continually exposed to media, social ideals and various other forms of information and unsolicited feedback, but thankfully, we have some insight and knowledge of these pressure pits which can help us thwart the mass of it…unfortunately, our children are still young and not as well prepared…but we are here to help them along their way!

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6

This transitional time of year is a perfect opportunity to help remind ourselves – and our children – of what our values and priorities are, and take a closer look at our goals…in order to reevaluate our cause. Learning more about who we are wonderfully made to be will help navigate this wide open space. Discovering more about who we *want* to be and less about what the world is *pressuring* us to be can be the key to true happiness.

So, how do we help our families achieve these ideals?

It helps to start with a list of values. Prioritize your top ten values and have your children do the same. The below list can be used to generate ideas, but choose your list according to what is most important to you.

Family
Spiritual Growth
Social Interactions
Sports
Education
Money
Health
Service
Career Advancement
Hobbies

There are no wrong answers on the values assessment list because every person is a unique individual! If we all shared exactly the same values and strengths, we wouldn’t be nearly as effective in working together.

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. Romans 12:4-6

Do your actions match your values?

Once you’ve determined your priorities, it’s helpful to check that you are appropriating your time accordingly. I like to do this using percentages, but you can simply rearrange your above list according to your current schedule. Now, compare the two lists and see where adjustments need to be made. Being aware of what we are doing and the reasons why can help in setting positive long-term goals.

Now that we know our values and can see where we are spending our time, we can use the information to set new goals and align our daily lives to reflect our beliefs. It’s not uncommon to slip into a bad habit of doing too much of that in which we would rather not…a whole lot less of that in which we should.

Goal Setting

One of the best ways to get back on track and moving toward the original goal is to set a main long-term goal with several, reachable short-term goals along the way.

All goals should be SMART:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

Your goal setting sheet should look something like this:

Main Goal = _____________ (keep it positive)

Short-term Goal #1 (include specifics and an achievable date)
Short-term Goal #2 (cross s-t goals off as they are accomplished!)
Short-term Goal #3 (almost there…stay on track)

Motivators: (I like to put encouraging words and helpful reminders here – something to keep the focus. Sticky notes on mirrors, in the car or somewhere they will be viewed daily can help too!)

I think you might be surprised at the many things you can learn about your children and their amazing, loving hearts as you help them set and keep their goals. They may be surprised to learn some pretty cool things about you too (and gain some wisdom into the reasons *why* you do the things you do!) …so in whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23

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