We often ask ourselves what the key for happiness in life is, but seldom pay much attention to it, due to the constant overstimulation, deadlines, and inevitable exhaustion we experience daily.

But have you ever stopped to ask yourself what your values are?

How are values and happiness related?

Turns out that identifying your values, and living aligned with them is a major source of happiness.

  • If you value curiosity, then you’ll find fulfillment in embarking on an exciting adventure in a new city.
  • If you value growth, then you’ll feel satisfied with your accomplishments at a job that challenges you.

When we behave in ways that reflect what we regard as most important in life, we can be the people that we want to be as we live our lives with purpose and enjoyment.

When we inhibit ourselves from living our values, such as by valuing compassion but failing to express our gratitude to our friends, then we rob ourselves of our ability to generate real happiness.

Luckily, values are forgiving, and it’s never too late to break the cyclical effects of mundane life to pursue them.

4-Step Procedure for Finding Happiness

Follow the mental techniques below so that you can design a life that is in greater alignment with your true self, and happiness will follow.

1. Identify Your Values

Family relationships and key for happiness

Becoming aware of your values is the first step to living in alignment with them, so take a moment to reflect and jot down your values that come to mind. Do you value authenticity? Optimism? Honesty? Next, think of actions that may define those values: when by yourself, around others, and at work. “Self-discipline” may be demonstrated by sticking to a weekly fitness routine. “Creativity” may be expressed by always sharing your opinion at work. Reflect on your values, what their actions are, and write.

2. Acknowledge with Gratitude

Gratitude is a key for happiness

Now that you’ve defined your values by their actions, ask yourself, what values are you already living in alignment with?

  • If you value organization and you already keep a list of tasks to complete each day, then write that down.
  • If you value generosity and you recently surprised your friend with flowers for her graduation, then include that too.

Acknowledging how you may already be living in alignment with your values will help build your confidence to be your ideal self, and consider Giving yourself a thank you, as this can truly make you happier.

What are you most grateful for about yourself? Write a small thank you note addressed to yourself or stick a post-it note on your mirror with some words of encouragement.

Gratitude is a powerful tool, and it can guide you through the necessary steps of self-growth.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

“If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.” – Gerald Good

3. Turn Self-Growth into a Mindset

Self-growth is a mindset, and not an end point.

We may strive to be ideal, but we haven’t gotten there yet. Ask yourself where the biggest gaps are between your current life, and your life in alignment with your values.

That gap may be difficult to face, and you might even feel guilt, but honesty is key. Do you value reliability but always run late? Are you always on your phone at dinner but value social connection? Don’t judge, just write it all down. Refer to your previously built confidence and you can begin to change your actions for the better by identifying areas of improvement.

4. Develop a Positive Attitude

When it comes to improving alignment, the only obstacle that stands in your way is you.

Choose one of your improvement areas from the exercise above.

Then, change your mindset from “I will” to “I am”. This means rather than telling yourself that you will be reliable by arriving 10 minutes early, tell yourself that you are reliable, and from now on will arrive 10 minutes early.

To make yourself believe that you can align with your values, write down the specific steps that you will take to start implementing each value into your daily life.

With a positive attitude, anything is achievable, including designing a life that radiates happiness and reflects who you truly are.

To Summarize

Values are principles that we find desirable, important, or even essential. When we live in alignment with them, we are really finding the key for happiness. When we don’t, we lose sight of ourselves and our ability to generate happiness.

For more practices like the ones above, check out the “Best Future Self,” “Top Goals,” and “Ideal Self” exercises on the Mindshine app (iOS or Android). Take action to become the person that you want to be and live the life that you’ve always imagined. If you’re hesitant to start, just ask yourself, are you living your best life?