I’m adding a new element to my annual goal-setting, and planning method and it’s called value statements.
I’ve discovered that by creating value statements before I plan out my year has become a huge game changer for me. I can’t wait to walk you through how I wrote them out, how they guided my planning for 2023 and how much has come to fruition already.
In the fall of 2022, I had the pleasure of attending a retreat my friend and psychotherapist Alison Villa hosted in Durham County. We stayed at the beautiful stone house at Glencolton farm and she took a few of us (from our online therapy group) through her Values Reset program.
Now without giving away too much of the goods from her program, I wanted to walk you through a little bit of the process and the resulting value statements that I’m using to guide my life and how I set goals.
If she ever decides to offer this as an online program I highly recommend taking it!
The Value Statement Process
The Dream Big Buckets
In the Values Reset program, we sat down and dreamed big in different areas of our lives including what we value around family, couple, community, location, home, food, extended family, travel, possessions, transportation, how we spend our time, and an other category. I chose my other category to be around hobbies or leisure. When we went home from the retreat we were also encouraged to spend some time writing down what we value around a career bucket.
We were guided to write down the things that were important to us and asked questions that also helped prompt our thinking or inspired us to write down things that we wanted in that area of our lives. The only caveat was that time and money were not to be considered an issue. We joked that some people, like my husband, needed the prompt, “Write down things as if you had a f*ck ton of money”. Sometimes it’s all about perspective.
Due to only spending 2 days at the retreat, after filling out all our dream big buckets we were asked to prioritize our top 3 categories for writing out our value statements. So this is where I brought in my life category ranking system from my goal-setting method.
So in my goal-setting method, I do a life category audit and score each category from 1 to 10. 1 being I’m not happy in this area of my life and 10 being I’ve got this alllll figured out. I then prioritize setting goals for the life categories that I want to improve upon (or scored the lowest in). So this is where I focused on writing out value statements first for the categories where I felt I wasn’t truly living in alignment with my values. After the retreat, I took the time to write our value statements for every life category. I even put them into pretty images (which I’ll share throughout this blog post) so I could print them out and put them somewhere where I could see them every day (I chose my office).
When I completed my life category audit at the end of 2022 I ranked travel and leisure the lowest and then couple, career, health, fitness, spiritual / stress management, and friendships. So I had a lot of value statements to prioritize.
The Value Statement Writing Process
Travel & Hobbies Value Statements
Let’s start with Travel and Hobbies as these were my lowest-scored categories.
So after looking at my brain dump boxes, I pulled out a few things that stood out to me.
From there we were coached to write 2-3 sentences that described our values for that category. You’ll notice many of my value statements start with “I value” or “We value”. When I got home from the retreat I walked my husband through the process and shared some of my value statements that involve him. He helped add or edit them so those value statements that involve Mike start with “We value.”
Now let me walk you through how I’ve used my value statements to guide my goal-setting this year. Since I always share my 2023 goals on my blog (here is the post for reference). I used these value statements to goal set in Travel, Couple and Friendships.
Travel: I planned out the 3 trips at the beginning of the year, put them on the calendar and then booked them.
My husband and I travelled to the Dominican Republic in March for our annual honeymoon (which I’ll classify as a relaxing trip). We travelled in August to Vancouver Island with our twins and explored 3 parts of the island (so I’m classifying this one as our adventure trip). I travelled to Austin, Texas for a web3 conference in April, I’m heading to Salt Lake City in September for dōTERRA’s annual convention and I’m potentially heading to Poland in November for one of my web3 clients’ events. For next year, I’m already planning our annual canoe trip to Algonquin Park. After hiking the twins around Vancouver Island they are ready for an adventurous canoe trip with a few portages (ok maybe at least one) next year.
Now about the working remotely part in the winter. I’m truly considering us becoming sunbirds next year. And it’s due to writing this out as part of my value statement. You’ll see it on my Travel and my Location value statements. I am actively starting to think about where we might live during the winter next year so we can get ample sunlight as Ottawa winters are just becoming too draining for me and my health.
Hobbies: I have made an effort to take one yoga class weekly. Which is covered in my Fitness goal for the year. I have a reminder set up in my reminders app for every Sunday to remind me to book my weekly Yoga class on Tuesday. I’m taking the Strength & Stretch at Yogatown Barrhaven with my yoga teacher trainer Aleysha Derksen which is just the perfect class for me to take each week.
I’ve dedicated time to hunting each spring and fall. We’ve prioritized time hiking and now I just need to map out where I can fit in some biking.
I go out stand-up paddleboarding at the cottage. And as I heal my MS flare and liver health I’ll then prioritize healing my pelvic floor so I can get back to road & trail running. From there I’ll see when and where I can tackle the more adventurous hobbies that are begging me to try.
Couple & Community Value Statements
Couple: There are several things that I was yearning for in my relationship with my husband. I hold utmost importance on us being on the same page each week and communicating clearly with each other what’s going on in our lives. So scheduling a weekly date night, a weekly schedule check-in and going on daily dog walks in the morning has been everything to me.
I have a reminder that I first planned out in Asana but then moved to the Reminder app to remind myself on the 1st of every month to plan out our date nights for the month and line up grandparents to come over or hire a babysitter. We’ve only missed one or two so far this year so I’m loving the time I get to connect with my husband.
Community: After being ostracized by friends and family over the past few years finding a community where we feel at home was important to us. One of my goals around friendships this year was to book a monthly friendship date to truly make important friendships a priority. While I’m not truly sure how to build that community around us we are making baby steps and prioritizing the right friendships so we can focus on building the community we value and envision.
Family & Extended Family Value Statements
These two value statements are also nicely paired together:
Family: While I wrote this out individually, I edited this completely with my husband when I got home from the retreat so it reflects both our values. This process showed me that we are very much on the same wavelength with many things. He pointed out that at the beginning of this year, I made an effort to not only schedule weekly couple date nights but also monthly Daddy/Daughter, Mother/Son dates and monthly Daddy/Son, Mother/Daughter dates. Since our attention is often pulled in many directions when we’re together ensuring we have one on one time not only as a couple but as parent-to-child as well. So Mike helped me add the last sentence of our value statement.
Extended Family: We truly have beautiful relationships with both sets of our parents and watching them flourish and grow relationships with our twins has been so important to us. So this value statement was crafted based on time spent with my family who are local to Ottawa, my husband’s family who live several hours away and also dear friends who have become like family in the last 2 years.
Home & Location Value Statements
Home and Location are also so intricately tied together. And both of these value statements are very much in the dream big category. While I’d like to say I’m trying to figure out how to make these happen within a year these will probably be a little further out for us based on current circumstances that we are prioritizing. So let me share some questions that helped me dream big in these areas and thus craft the statements.
Home: What does your physical home look like? What do you see out the windows? How much land or lack thereof are you on? What aspects of the home light you up? For me, I wrote out my value statement and then showed it to my husband when I got home. He added a few things to the value statement that were intricately linked to his values. Can you tell which part was his addition? I can’t wait to build towards this dream and see where it brings us.
Location: I decided to share Home and Location together because where we build our home is very much tied to location. My Travel value statement is also linked to location especially when it comes to the snowbird mentality I’m hoping to adopt shortly for our lives. For location, I also shared this with my husband and he added his part. Can you tell which addition came from him?
Food, Possessions & Transportation Value Statements
I had fun creating these three value statements:
Food: Since moving back to Ottawa in 2021 I have focused immensely on building relationships with local farmers and I’m pretty proud to say that 90% of our food is sourced directly from farms or farmer’s markets. I’ve even learned to preserve food to make our food last longer and rely less on grocery stores.
Our current grocery shopping is snacks and juice for the kids, oranges, bananas, avocados and coconut water. Oh and the occasional produce that I can’t find at a farmer like brussel sprouts, parsnips and carrots.
I’m really proud of how we nourish our family and the treats part is real as I have pictures on my phone of the babes eating Smores around the campfire at our friends’ place or our cottage with faces covered in chocolate.
Possessions: This value statement was interesting to write. I was inspired by some of my retreat goers to also focus on minimalism. And while I don’t think it’s a true value of mine, I do believe we can purge many of the items that we have and live with less. This became very true for me as we moved our lives across the country in a short time span and we realized just how many things we had that we necessarily didn’t or don’t need.
I added in the rose gold because I’ve been very drawn to decorating my home office with that metal and colour. And after buying cheap clothing for years I know it’s time to invest in quality pieces since I truly don’t love shopping and would appreciate not having to shop for new clothes each year.
Transportation: This was an interesting category to think about. I hadn’t really thought about transportation as a value but I had fun writing out this value statement nonetheless. While many of my fellow retreatgoers started dreaming about the make and model of the car they wanted, I got more practical. See our family has always valued purchasing cars with high re-sell values so that we can make the most of our purchase when replacing cars. This is something we’re trying to do every 5 – 6 years to ensure we are getting a great re-sell cost from the vehicle we currently drive.
I’ve driven Honda CRVs for years and my husband has a Toyota Tundra. Because we have two kids and two dogs, we are finally thinking about replacing the CRV with something larger so we can all drive to the cottage in one vehicle vs. two!
I loved putting in the part about how we enjoy trips via different travel methods as I thought that would be a fun way to incorporate variety into our family’s life as we book annual trips together.
Time & Career Value Statements
Last but not least we have Time & Career value statements which I believe are intricately linked. While at the retreat we didn’t even touch on career as it is such a loaded one and requires dedicated time.
So during the retreat, we dreamed big about how we spend our time and then when we got home we did a remote session to set up our career statements.
Time: I asked myself how do I want to spend my day. Because so much of my day is centered around career I had a really hard time separating the two. So I asked myself questions around moments in my day. What was important for me in how I start my day? What was important for me in how I end my days? How and when do I spend time with my family? And then how and when do I spend time working and making money for our family?
Career: We were challenged to dream big here in terms of how much we earn. We were challenged to look at how much we make annually, increase it and then increase it again. So this is the number I landed on. The fun part of this value statement was to define not only how much I make but also how I spend my time earning this revenue. How many days do I want to work a week? What physical location do I want to work in? What sort of people am I working for and with? And how do I take care of myself and what do I outsource so I can make this all happen!?
I hope you found this post useful, This year I’m publishing my first weekly planner called The Essential Planner which will walk you through my goal-setting method. Get on the waitlist below to be the first to find out about the official launch date: