In this last post, I shared a list of powerful questions that help to zero in on your core values.
Your values help to guide you in a purposeful direction and glue together your tiniest actions to your biggest life dreams. Values also support you with inspiration and motivation when life gets challenging.
The following is an exercise that helps you clarify your core values by taking you back into a memory when life was at its sweetest.
This exercise is called The Sweet Spot, and is excerpted from a training I recently completed in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Russ Harris (ACT expert and author of "The Happiness Trap.")
The Sweet Spot
1. Retrieve a “sweet spot” memory..
It could be a recent one or one from the distant past—which encapsulates some of life’s sweetness for you.
It could be something momentous, such as skiing in the Swiss Alps, hiking through the Himalayas, holding your newborn baby in your arms, or your wedding day.
Or it could also be something simple, such as sitting in a café and reading the paper while sipping a perfect latte, riding your bike through the park on a sunny afternoon, reading a book on a beach, or playing your favorite music.
Literally anything that captures a taste of life’s richness will do.
2. Close your eyes and make that memory as vivid as possible, as if it is happening here and now.
See if you can tap right into the sweetness, drink it in and let it flow through you, appreciating the fullness of life as it was in that moment.
Straighten your spine, let your shoulders drop, and push your feet gently onto the floor. Close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths. Once you are calm and centered, relive your chosen memory in vivid detail.
Take at least a minute or two, or longer if you wish. As you relive this memory, look around inside it and explore it and notice what you can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Savor the sweetness: really let yourself feel it, and, as you do so, make room for all that arises.
3. Go back into that memory, look at yourself, and do the following:
Notice, inside that memory, what you are doing.
Notice, inside that memory, how you are behaving.
Notice, inside that memory, what personal qualities you are exhibiting.
Notice, inside that memory, the nature of your relationship with whatever activity you are doing: Are you connected or disconnected, engaged or disengaged?
Notice, inside that memory, how are you treating yourself, others, and the world around you.
4. Reflect on the following questions:
What does this reveal about the personal qualities you’d like to embody?
What does this suggest about the way you’d ideally like to behave?
Write the values that you have clarified through remembering your sweet spot. Write them down for yourself and notice the ways you are expressing them already in your life, and the places where they feel absent.
Share what you discover in the comments below.