What matters most to you? What are the guideposts that inform your everyday decisions? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you may have a hard time aligning your habits with your goals. If you can answer these questions easily, you know why your values matter. 

The challenge with values is that it’s often defined incorrectly. Author and behavior designer, Nir Eyal, suggests that values are frequently defined as “what we care about.” The flaw with this definition is that what we care about changes situationally. Instead, Eyal defines values as “attributes of the person you want to become.” With this lens, values shift from the things we value in the moment to our actual steadfast values. This important perspective shift helps to better understand why your values matter. 

Here are 3 additional reasons why your values matter and how knowing them impacts your wellbeing.

Values are central to your identity

Your values are at the heart of who you are and why you do what you do. Defining your personal values helps you live in alignment with who you want to be and what you want to achieve. Eyal gives these 20 examples of common values that embody traits of the person you might want to be. Your brain strives to match your beliefs with your actions, so when the two match your mental wellbeing is stronger. When your beliefs and actions don’t match, you will experience cognitive dissonance and make excuses for your choices. Aligning your actions and values results in better mental health and is evidence of why your values matter.    

Values keep you grounded

Regardless of the situation, values are within your control. Your values lend stability regardless of what others around you are doing. Eyal argues that “if someone can take it away from you, then it’s not one of your values.” Your values may change during different seasons of life or shift with life experience, but they do so by your choice. While you may be influenced by other people’s values, beliefs and teachings, you are ultimately the only one who can choose the values that matter most to you. You reap the benefits of why your values matter when you experience better social, emotional, and physical health by owning your values and feeling more grounded.    

Values are actionable

Life is filled with decisions. Where you are in life today is the cumulative effect of your actions and decisions so far. Without a clearly established set of values, you may not be on the course you expected or intended. One of the most important reasons your values matter is that you make better decisions when you know what matters most to you. If you have goals in life but you aren’t achieving them, it may be that your values need to be more clearly defined. BetterYou helps you improve your wellbeing by helping you align your values and your actions by nudging your back toward the things that matter most when you begin to drift.

Knowing why your values matter and how they impact your wellbeing may lead you to take stock of yours today and identify them if they are unclear. Take some time to write down the values that matter most to you and begin to experience the benefits of a well aligned life.