After a year that took away Sfiso Ncwane, Mandoza and Muhammad Ali but saw fit to leave behind Donald Trump and the Gupta family, can you really be blamed for thinking it might be better to spend 2017 in bed? How, when it feels like the whole world has gone mad, do you approach the new year with a can-do attitude?
To achieve what matters most in the next 12 months – and beyond that – there are a few crucial questions you need to periodically ask yourself, says bestselling author, educator and public speaker Dr John Demartini, a leading authority on human behaviour and personal development.
Take your time over these “big five” – they’re an invitation to explore, invent and evolve yourself in 2017…
QUESTION 1: What are my highest values and am I being true to them?
What are the most important aspects of your life, the things that mean the most to you? Your family? Your work? Your health? Your spirituality? These represent your highest values – the top-priority items that are as unique to you as your own fingerprints. But do you always put them first? If you are not living congruently with what you value most, symptoms of discomfort are the inevitable result.
QUESTION 2: Why don’t I do the things I would love to be doing?
Life isn’t about figuring out what to do. You already know that your wisest actions align with the things you value most. The real challenge is in actually doing this. Ask yourself, “Are the activities that fill my day really satisfying my highest values? If not, what is stopping me from focusing on the things that I value most?” And, perhaps most importantly, “What benefit am I deriving from these undertakings that I pretend not to see?” You’ll be amazed at the possibilities that open up when you stop deceiving yourself.
QUESTION 3: Do my goals correspond with my highest values?
If your goals for 2017 or, indeed, for your whole life, don’t agree with the things you value most, you stand very little chance of achieving them. Say, for example, that your children are your highest priority but that your goal this year is to save money. Chances are that every extra cent you do manage to make will be spent on your kids. Why? Because building wealth is simply not one of your highest values. You will need to remodel your value structure to include saving money as a top priority, thereby bringing your actions into alignment with the things that are most important and so set about achieving this goal.
QUESTION 4: How are my “shoulds” getting in the way of my happiness?
So often the desires of the ego are in conflict with the wisdom of the heart. Are you living your life according to what you truly believe in and value most or are you trying to fulfil the expectations of others? A life lived in pursuit of “perceived values” is a precarious one where extrinsic factors completely beyond your control will constantly threaten to destabilise your sense of equilibrium. Only by honouring your own highest values do you achieve balance, becoming a master of your destiny rather than a victim of history.
QUESTION 5: Am I living an inspired life?
The secret to living an inspired life is to find something you truly love, something that realises your highest values and allows you to subsist satisfactorily, and that makes a difference in the lives of others. The last proviso is an important one. The yearning to help others has evolutionary origins – contributing to the group was essential to primitive man’s survival – and, today, the way to measure your worth may simply be to give as much if not more than you take. Asking what or who you made more fulfilled each day is a simple litmus test we can all measure ourselves by.