Hack Happiness: Make Values-Based Choices

Life is a matter of choices, and every choices you make makes you. - John C Maxwell

In case you missed this week’s Change School TV episode, Grace and Solonia discuss the importance of aligning your values and choices in order to find true happiness.  

There is one universal goal that all of us strive for, and that is to be happy. No matter what we do in Life/Work - or why we do it - the ultimate goal and belief is to feel and experience happiness. But the ‘pursuit’ of happiness can also be misleading because happiness is not a thing to be achieved. Happiness is a choice.

Consider the world of work. We are seeing more and more people experiencing career burnout, feeling stuck in their search for more meaning, or trying to juggle multiple roles and responsibilities in order to lead more ‘happy’ lives. Many of us have been led to believe that the key to happiness is to do more and to be more. The irony is that the more we want, desire, and try to do - the more we detach ourselves from the true source of happiness: YOU.

At The Change School, we believe that true happiness comes down to one thing: YOUR CHOICES.

Whether we realise it or not, we make choices every waking moment. What we choose to eat, where we choose to work, how we choose to show up and interact in our daily lives. Every decision to think or act a certain way has a direct impact on how we feel, think and act. That is what determines our happiness.

So often, we go through life in autopilot mode - forgetting that we are the creators of our lives and designers of our destiny. Though we can’t always control our external environment or circumstances, how we engage with the world always comes down to the personal choices we make.

How do you make decisions in your life? What is the criteria your choices are based on? Are you influenced by choices you think you ‘should’ or ‘have to’ do, or by what you really want to do? How do you prioritise your life?

It all comes down to your values: the principles, beliefs and people that are most important to you. When you know your personal values, making decisions that are aligned to who you are and what you value the most becomes easier.

How do you define your values? How do you reflect this in everyday choices?

Here are three reflective questions to help you pause and ponder whether your everyday choices are aligned to your values. You can also download our Hacking Happiness worksheet further below to help!

1. What are your core values and how are they reflected in your life choices?
Most of us have grown up adopting values that were imposed on us - from our families, our childhood, society, or our workplace. Values such as honesty, integrity, and compassion are virtues and principles we’ve been conditioned to accept. While these are important values to live by, they are not necessarily your core values, which are entirely subjective and unique to you.

As an example, let’s consider two people with very different sets of values…
John’s values are: Prestige, Intellect, Discipline and Strength
Sarah’s values are: Creativity, Curiosity, Courage and Travel

Based on their core values, who do you think would choose to spend their Saturday afternoon at an art exhibition? Who would you expect to choose a corporate desk job opportunity with prospects for a major promotion in 3 years? Who would be more likely to pursue an unconventional career path?

Happiness Hack: Making values-based choices invites meaning and fulfilment to our lives.

2. How do you define your values and how is this reflected in how you think, feel and act?

Let’s now assume that John and Sarah share one common core value: Success

Given their core values from the previous example, would you expect them to define ‘Success’ in the same way? How do you think their personal definitions of ‘Success’ would influence their choices and behaviour in different social or professional situations?

Happiness Hack: Defining our core values helps to stay grounded in our why and bigger goals.

3. How do your core values change or evolve through different life stages?

Let’s imagine that John has reached the peak of his professional career and Sarah has recently had her first child.

Do you think John would be happy to take on another long-hour desk job at this stage of his career? Do you think Sarah would enjoy a career that required 70% of international travel in this phase of her life?

Happiness Hack: Re-aligning our values and choices at different stages of life/work allows us to focus our time and energy on what truly matters.

When we understand what gives us meaning, fulfilment, and job, hacking happiness is simply a matter of choosing to act in accordance with our desires and beliefs. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to find happiness - there is only your personal truth.

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Ready to start hacking happiness?
Download our Hack Happiness Worksheet to help you make values-based choices everyday.

Need help re-prioritising your life?
Check out our Change Planner and sign up to be the first to know when we launch on Amazon!

Want more free tools for hacking happiness?
Here are 3 from Learned Happiness...
1. Take this free test to discover your top contributors and detractors of happiness.
2. Choose your pick from these 5 mood boosters.
3. Learn 7 different savouring exercises to find joy in your best moments and experiences.