Check Your Alignment

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Stephenie Craig 2020 AugBy Stephenie Craig

Do you ever notice you aren’t behaving consistently with the person you want to be? Maybe you want to be honest, but you find yourself lying. Maybe you want to be patient, but you find yourself being irritable with those around you. Maybe you want to be trustworthy, but you find yourself continuing to let yourself and others down.

beautiful happy woman with closed eyes practicing yoga in lotus position in bedroom in the morningDay to day life can be overwhelming and distracting from the bigger picture of who you want to be. Often, you might find yourself doing the next thing without creating space to be intentional about your values. When you don’t know what you value, you don’t know who you want to be. And when you aren’t clear about who you want to be, your choices and behavior are likely to take you down destructive paths you did not intend to travel. When your lifestyle is out of alignment with your values and who you want to be, life becomes less fulfilling, less hopeful, less focused and less purposeful. Life lived out of alignment can also bring destructive patterns like addiction, failure to tend to relationships and lack of self-awareness about how your behavior is impacting yourself and others.

So, how do you know if you are out of alignment and what can you do about it?

6 Ways to Check Your Alignment

1 – Refine. Refine what character traits and values are most important to you. Use character guides like the Biblical fruit of the spirit to clarify who you want to be. “I want to be kind, patient, loving, responsible, thoughtful, adventurous, creative.” Use value lists to determine what is most important to you. “I value integrity, faith, family, loyalty, travel, generosity, commitment.” Try creating a list of 10 positive character traits and 10 values to provide structure. You can find a printable Strengths List and Values List at journeybravely.com to help you get started.

2 – Remember. Take time weekly to remember your values. Revisit character and values lists. Notice when your behavior is in conflict with who you want to be. “I want to be reliable but I am not following through on commitments leaving others experiencing me as flaky.”

3 – Reflect. Notice what is contributing to your alignment struggle. Are you under stress? Do you have unhealthy coping skills that need replacement? Are you surrounding yourself with negative influences and information? Are you engaging in positive things that help you stay grounded such as spiritual practices, self-care, personal growth? Are there boundaries you need to set? “I have trouble saying no to people so I say yes when I know I’m not actually going to follow through. I need to learn how to say no.”

4 – Repent. Repent means to turn in the opposite direction once you realize you are off your desired path. Acknowledge to yourself, God, and others you have made mistakes and engaged in behavior that is inconsistent with who you want to be. “Failing to follow through is not how I want to live. It’s distancing me from people I care about. I’m sorry I’ve been making that choice and I want to learn to live differently.”

5 – Repair. Take ownership of your unaligned behavior’s negative impact on yourself and others. Make amends. Apologize directly. Receive forgiveness. Communicate adjustments you will make. “I’m sorry I told you I would help you and then I backed out at the last minute. I’m realizing I have a tendency to say yes, because I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings and then I don’t follow through. It will be better for me to say no up front and I’m going to work on improving in this area.”

6 – Realign. Determine meaningful action steps to bring your behavior and choices back in line with your values. Seek spiritual, social, and professional support as needed in your process. Begin taking action in the direction of your values and remember your brain naturally rewires through consistent repetition over time. Move forward in grace and growth. “In the spirit of learning to say no and keeping my word, I’m going to listen to a boundaries podcast and I’m going to ask a friend to check in with me each week on what I’m learning and how I’m applying it.”

We all get out of alignment at times. Maturity is developed through the gracious process of noticing when it happens and walking through your realignment practices. As you walk along your growth journey, connect with us at journeybravely.com for counseling and coaching support.