A 12-minute exercise that will change your life

Yesterday, we looked at the powerful benefits of writing about our values.  Let’s put this theory into action.  

When?  Right now.  This will take no longer than 12 minutes.

Step one: What are your values?  Click on this link and pick your top three values.  Values are simply what you care about.  Your values are what you feel is important and meaningful.  They can be an attitude, a strength, or even a community you care about.  Feel free to write down something that is not on the list.  

Step two: Once you’ve selected three values that are personally meaningful to you, select one of your values and write about it for ten minutes.  Describe why this value is important to you or how you live this value in your everyday life, including what you did today or yesterday.  If you are facing a difficult decision, consider how this value might guide you.  Keep your pen moving for ten minutes.

That’s it.  A minute or two of identifying your values.  Ten minutes spent writing about one value.

This exercise is included in Kelly McGonigal‘s brilliant book The Upside of Stress.  As Kelly notes, “People who write about their values once, for ten minutes, show benefits months or even years later.”

All of our associates did this exercise last April as part of our most recent NotTheTypicalQuarterlyBusinessMeeting.  Also, known at PCI as our QBM.  

At the start of 2021, I had challenged all of our associates to keep a gratitude journal for the first 100-days of the year.

As part of our April QBM, I encouraged my colleagues to incorporate their values into their daily gratitude’s.  

Because the research shows that writing about our values in empowering.  “When people are connected to their values, they are more likely to believe they can improve their situation through effort and the support of others.  That makes them more likely to take positive action and less likely to use avoidant coping strategies like procrastination or denial,” Kelly writes.  

“They are also more likely to view the adversity they are going through as temporary, and less likely to think the problem reveals something unalterably screwed up about themselves and their lives,” she states.  “In other words, as you reflect on your values, the story you tell yourself about stress shifts.  You see yourself as strong and able to grow from adversity.”

Why is this exercise so powerful?

“The lasting benefits are not the direct result of the ten minute writing period,” Kelly concludes, “but of the mindset Tuesday’s RWD shift it inspired.”

__________________

Reflection: What are my most important values?

Action:  Select one value and write about it for ten minutes.  Extra credit: Journal about how I am living or experiencing my values each day for the next 21 days.  

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