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Your Result

Pursue activities and practices that reflect your values

To be happier, consider a habit of pursuing activities and practices that reflect your values.

Why this aim is likely to make you happier

When life is racing forward, and we’re managing the calendar and the to-do list, it’s hard to step back to consider the big picture. When we mindfully invest time and energy into enacting our values, it can help give us a sense of purpose.

One important element of a happy life is to “feel right”—that is, to feel that our life reflects our values. For that reason, it’s important to reflect on the values we want to cultivate, and then identify actions to put those values into the world.

Aims you might consider

Pick up trash on your daily walk

Volunteer an hour a week as a tutor

Start a parent group that meets regularly for support, resource sharing, and playdates

Walk dogs once a week at your local animal shelter

Start a blog and write a post per week about an issue you’re passionate about

Volunteer for an organization that helps people register to vote

Know Yourself Better

Self-knowledge is an essential aspect of happiness, because we can create a happy life only on the foundation of our own nature, our own values, and our own interests. 

As you consider ways to pursue activities and practices that reflect your values​​, ask yourself:

  • What activities or roles give you a sense of purpose? Sharing your knowledge or experience, taking care of other people, protecting the environment, being a supportive member of your community, being a parent, being an active and engaged citizen?
  • What five values are most important to you?
  • How might you use your time, energy, or money to support your values?

A few notes of caution…

  • Especially in today’s world of social media and the twenty-four-hour news cycle, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of worthy causes that deserve our attention. Focusing your time and effort may make it easier to act more effectively.