“What’s important?” may be one of the single most important questions to ask yourself (or have a fierce conversation with yourself about). In my experience, only the things that are important to you will truly motivate you. Some call this your values, concerns, or maxims. That’s where all your behavior comes from.
There are some values whose prioritization makes a huge difference in terms of your happiness, personality, and interactions with others. Thinking of important choices you have made in past, try and put these in your priority order and see if you get any insights:
- Looking good
- Being right (or at least not being wrong)
- Safety and security
- Approval of others
- Good relationships
- Self knowledge
You might find that the list you get from observing your own behavior isn’t the list you “wanted”. Or isn’t a list that “looks good.” This is helpful because it makes you conscious of what is truly important to you, and allows you to act more consciously in the future. Perhaps you’ll catch yourself sacrificing happiness in order to maintain your relationships when in fact you really prefer happiness.