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Thursday, October 1, 2015

I set my word of the year to Personal back in January - a decision I don't regret and have grown so much from - but another word has begun to creep into my consciousness: Values.

What Values Means to Me

As I've been working to define what my next "life plan" will be, I discovered defining a concrete goal for my future wasn't going to happen. There are just too many irons in the fire, too many opportunities and too much could change. I felt it was futile to define a clear, step-by-step life plan. That worked for me after college, but isn't the model that I can use now. Instead, I want to define my Values, which I can then use to guide me along as I make decisions in the moment.

I view these Values as a compass, pillars, to base decisions on. Very similar to morals or religious beliefs, Values are inherently personal and specific. They're easy to internalize but difficult to communicate. But unlike morals or religious beliefs, I don't want my Values to shift with education or convictions. I want my Values to be agnostic and firm. Something I can lean on, depend on and grow with.

How I Found my Values

To find my Values, I filled out a worksheet. Because I'm a dork and believe in the power of forms. Here's a few options if you'd like to do the same:

My Values, Identified

So, what were my Values? Of the many, my top five were:

  • Creativity
  • Intentionality
  • Frugality
  • Centeredness
  • Openness

How I'm Going to Use my Values

So while I want to use my Values as a sounding board for making big life decisions, I also want to consciously and purposefully apply them to my life now. I decided to list a few "action items" for each Value that I am prioritizing. It's a small but necessary step. One tiny turn in direction that will hopefully guide me toward the best place over time.

Here are my actionable items:


  • Watch my TED Talk playlists
  • Read creative books
  • Sketchnote while doing those things


  • Update my UX Portfolio actively
  • Perform romantic gestures
  • Take my dogs on hikes
  • Set attainable and reasonable short-term goals


  • Buy less clothes (For October through Thanksgiving - buy no clothes. Then... Black Friday!)
  • Reduce Calories/Alcohol consumption
  • Set reasonable relationship expectations


  • Meditate daily
  • Follow through on plans - Be dependable
  • Find a routine


  • Listen more than I talk
  • Practice empathy
  • Try something new
  • Don't defend on principle

Here's a good October and a well-lived Fall 2015!

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