Ways to translate values into actionabe daily habits

Translate your Personal Values into Concrete Daily Habits (Challenge)

Personal Values – Quick Overview:

Have you ever looked back at your life and wondered, “What am I really doing with my time? That’s not how I wanted to spend my life!”

Living a life that’s not aligned with our core personal values might feel like sailing in the Pacific without a compass

A study by Harvard shows that people are 10x more likely to achieve their goals that are more aligned with their values!

Personal Value – Our hidden Inner compass:

Life is a journey that requires our internal compass called values. Imagine living through your life with an internal compass crafted from your deepest beliefs, priorities, and aspirations. 

Right now, most of us are guided by 

  • societal expectations
  • Fleeting trends
  • External Pressure

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny,”

Mahatma Gandhi

Align Values with Goals:

Do you ever feel disconnected from yourself and lack purpose in life sometimes? Do you procrastinate a lot and suffer from burnout and lack of motivation? 

When we feel lost in life, we need to refer to our values, the internal compass, and the map that we can use to navigate and make tough decisions. The map doesn’t just take us to our destination but ensures that every step we take resonates with who we are. This is what aligning values with goals means!

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”

Antony Robbins

Phycological Impact of Misalignment:

Loss of Motivation and Direction:

  • Inner Conflict: When your goals and values are misaligned, you end up feeling confused and struggling internally.
  • Fake life paradox: People end up feeling like they are living an inauthentic life!
  • Procrastination: If we are not passionate and value the things we do in life, we end up procrastinating often right?
  • Decision Fatigue and Analysis Paralysis: Making decisions can become a nightmare when we are unaware of our values!
  • Death of Intrinsic Motivation:  When our goals clash with our values,  the internal drive that’s fueled by our core beliefs weakens!

“The good life is a process, a journey toward the continual realization of one’s potential.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, psychologist, and author of Flow

Emotional Chaos:

  • Stress and Anxiety: The constant internal conflict creates the stress of living in the present and the anxiety of the future.
  • Low Self-Esteem:  We tend to fail to reach goals that are not aligned with our true values! This can lead to low self-esteem.
  • Burnout: The modern world can be demanding and when you work hard for something that’s not aligned with your values, you’ll end up feeling burnt out.

Identity Crisis & Lack of Fulfillment:

Disconnected from Self: When this goes on for a while, we end up feeling empty and not knowing who we truly are! 

Is there anything worse than living a life disconnected from ourselves? Knowing that we have only one chance and limited time to perceive this universe and live a fulfilling life, we decide to live an empty meaningless life. 

“The only way to get what you want out of life is to figure out what you want.”

Gretchen Rubin

Ways to convert your Values to Actionable daily habits and goals:

We all struggle to be consistent with our habits and routines. There could be other important responsibilities in life that might consume our energy and time. 

But, “Anything worth having doesn’t come easy!”

That’s why I love crafting weekly challenges that are both interesting and easier to follow! Mental Health and personal Development advices in general can be had to follow and hence it’s better to set challenges and work on them!

Are you up for it? If not, why even bother researching all this information? 

“Nothing good comes out of inaction”

Here’s a challenge that will help you convert your values into actionable daily habits and goals:


  • Know and understand your core personal values. Reflect on your happiest and peak Life Moments that brought you immense happiness and fulfillment in your life. 
  • Commit to finishing this challenge even if you miss a few days because of your life and responsibilities 

Goal Setting Challenge:

Week 1: Translate Values into Goals

Day 1: Matching & Goal Prioritization Exercise 

Task: Value-Goal Matching:

Match each core value to a specific goal you want to achieve. You can map 2-3 goals per value as well! But starting it might be better to have just one goal!

Create a two-column table. List your core values in one column. Brainstorm potential goals in the second column, aiming for at least 3 goals per value. Once you have a comprehensive list, prioritize your goals based on their importance to you and their alignment with your values.

“The purpose of a goal is not to reach it, but to define you.”  

Milburn Stone


  • Don’t be afraid to dream big! Start with a broad range of possibilities before refining them.
  • Consider both short-term and long-term goals. A mix keeps you motivated and provides a sense of accomplishment.
  • Think outside the box! Don’t limit yourself to conventional goals. Consider goals related to personal growth, creativity, or community contribution.

Day 2: Be more Specific = Set Smart Goals

Task: SMART Goal Formulation

Following the SMART framework, refine your goals to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant (to your values), and Time-bound.

Note: Honestly, I hate doing this. Because I always feel like the more details you add, the more overwhelming it seems. But if you take your time to define it more, the easier it gets for you.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish”

Challenge yourself to write each goal on a single Post-it note.

The limited space forces you to be concise, covering all elements of SMART in a few words. This method makes it easy to rearrange, regroup, and reprioritize goals as you refine them.


  • One Goal at a Time: Instead of trying to set multiple goals at once, focus on one goal. Break it down using the SMART framework, then move on to the next goal. This sequential approach prevents feeling overwhelmed and allows for more thoughtful consideration of each goal.
  • Use Goal setting apps if you prefer to keep everything digital
  • The Buddy System: Talk your goal out with a friend or your partner. Let them ask you questions and help you set SMART goals!

Day 3: Put it on Paper

Task: Write your SMART goals on a Post-it Note – One goal per note:

This simple task solidifies our goals and makes them physical. We tend to forget our goals and dreams often and the value associated with them!

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” 

Peter Drucker 

Day 4 & 5- Setting Milestones:

Milestones show us what we are accomplishing and are a good way to just lay a roadmap to your ultimate goal! Right?

“Milestones help us focus on and celebrate small achievements! This could help reinforce our motivation and re-frame setbacks as temporary hurdles!”


  • Break each of your goals down into smaller achievable goals/milestones!
  • Milestones don’t always have to be your actions but also the outcomes
  • Celebrate when you achieve these milestones
  • Revisit and adjust as needed!

“Goals achieved through hard work and determination will bring far more satisfaction than those achieved through shortcuts or luck.” 

  • Marion C. Garretty

Day 6: Goal Visualization:  

A vision board can be an amazing way to stay motivated and reminded of the goals you set.

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” 



  • Visualize your milestones like it’s a progress bar!
  • Focus on the positive emotions you’ll get when you reach your dreams. Live it! Feel it. Engage your senses!

Week 2: Challenge – Forming and Implementing Habits Challenge

This challenge focuses on translating your goals into actionable habits and integrating them into your routine.


  • Categorize your habits as daily and weekly habits. This way you can focus better!
  • Also, remember to consider your daily responsibilities and be more real about the amount of time you can spend on something.

Day 8: Habit Identification – Breaking down our goals

  • Task: Take a closer look at each goal and ask yourself “What can I do on a daily/weekly basis to get closer to our goal?”
  • Identify 2-3 small, actionable daily and weekly habits that will move you closer to achieving it. 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 

Lao Tzu

Day 9: Habit Prioritization:

Task: Prioritize your Habits!

“What you focus on, expands!”


  • On day 1, you must have come up with a list of goals based on values and prioritized them. Use that to prioritize habits as well!
  • Eventually, track the impact of each of these habits on your goals and values!
  • If possible, rank them in the order of importance and effectiveness
  • Consider your tendencies, personality type, and preferences to further optimize the habit strategy and prioritization.

Day 10: Habit Audit:

Task: Audit your day – Check what you are spending most of your time on. 

  • What are your routines and habits throughout the day? Look for unique opportunities and potential gaps to integrate new habits.

“The chains of habits are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken”

Samuel Johnson


  • Understand Habit Loops:  Every habit has a cue, routine, and reward that keeps the motivation going for the habit to last.
    • Cue: Triggers that cause you to do a habit. It could be thought, a state, a place, smells, visions, music, and so on.
    • Routine: The habit
    • Reward: The hit of dopamine, the good feeling you get after a habit!
  • Use habit loops to avoid negative habits and strategize new positive habits!

Day 11: Habit Stacking:

Task: Identify existing routines in your day and use habit stacking to integrate your new habits. 

“We are creatures of habit, and once we establish a routine, we find it difficult to break free.” 

F.M. Dostoevsky


  • Know your “Golden Hour” – the time of the day when you are the most focused and energized and stack positive habits around this time.

Day 12: Simple Habit Tracking System:

Task: Choose a method to track your progress, like habit trackers, apps, or a simple journal. 

A simple tracking system is good enough to create a feedback look required to adjust our behaviors and stick to our value-based habits and goals

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.” 

Charles Duhigg


  • Make Habit tracking fun with labels, stickers, and colors. Get creative with it!
  • Consider using a habit-tracking app if you prefer digital devices

Day 13: Establish a Reward System: 

Task: Establish a reward system for sticking to your habits. Celebrate small wins to maintain motivation.

“Positive reinforcement is the most powerful tool we have to shape behavior.” 

Bob Bailey

Day 14: Plan the next two weeks with the Daily and Weekly Value-Based Habits!

It’s time to act! Now that you have a list of value-based habits and goals prioritized and planned, it is finally time to show our discipline and how much we value our lives.

“What you do speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say.”  

Ralph Waldo Emerson (philosopher)

Value-Based Routines and Values – Challenges – Impact of External Influences:

Social Circle:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”

Jim Rohn

Our social circle and environment can have a significant impact on our behaviors and our ability to live by our values! 

  • Friends who share our values can help you in your journey and be a motivator, guide, and accountability partner in your journey
  • Negative influences can make you prioritize activities that contradict with your core beliefs and values!

Action Step: Identify people in your support network who share your values and those friends whose values are in misalignment with yours.

Social Pressure and Environment:

Social norms, expectations, and culture play a role in sticking to your value-based habits. If you wish to focus on growth but live in a student dorm with late-night parties and a lack of solitude, it can be hard to stay disciplined to pursue growth and self-care. Right?

  • Workplace culture and time constraints: We spend most of our days working. Right? If your work environment is high pressure with demanding deadlines and tight schedules, it can be hard to prioritize healthy living or self-care. Hence its essential to make sure that our values match with our work environment.

Financial Stress and Limitations:

In some cases, value-based habits can be expensive for us, or our financial worries can become a major distraction and hinder our motivation in life. 

These challenges aren’t meant to discourage you but to acknowledge and respond to it in a better way!

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” 

Viktor Franki

Life Transitions and Stressful Events:

When we experience major life transitions or stressful events like illness, job loss, or relationship issues, it can be hard to stay motivated toward our value-based goals!

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” 

Charles R. Swindoll

Also, values evolve and it’s important to reassess them and align our values according to them!

 “The only constant in life is change.” 


“The more we process information, the less mental bandwidth we have left for critical thinking.” 

Benedict Carey

Related Article: Evolving Personal Values – Values Clarification for Mid-life Crisis

Long-Term Sustainability of These Value Habits:

Paradox of Choice:

When you have too many “habits” to follow, it can be overwhelming and you might get discouraged.

“Choice overload can be paralyzing. When faced with too many options, we tend to freeze or make poor decisions.” 

Sheena Iyengar


  • Identify 2-3 core value habits that resonate the most with you. If focusing on too many habits seems overwhelming to you.

Integration into Identity:

It’s better to be “Someone who writes/ Writer” instead of “someone who tries to write”

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” 

James Clear, Atomic Habits

The ultimate goal  is to make the most important value based habits as a part of our identity!

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” 

  • Will Durant (philosopher)

Shift your focus from “doing” to “being.” 

Ask yourself: “Who do I want to become?” 

Align your value habits with that identity. Reading daily reinforces your identity as a lifelong learner, making it more sustainable.

Surround yourself with people who share your values:

A community can help a lot with sustaining habits. We derive a lot of motivation, belongingness, inspiration, accountability, and support from being a part of a group!

Many psychological studies mention the importance of social support in long-term habit sustainability.

“The people you surround yourself with influence your behaviors, so choose friends who have healthy habits.” 

Dan Buettner


  • Use online communities to engage with value-based friends. You will find more like-minded people around the world.

Understand that Plateaus and Setbacks are Inevitable:

Growth is never a linear path. It doesn’t come easy and that’s why not everyone in this world is disciplined. 

“It’s not about how many times you fall that counts. It’s about how many times you get back up.” 

Nelson Mandela (activist)


  • Focus on resilience and progress. Don’t try to be perfect!
  • Take planned cheat days and planned offs

Habit Calibration:

We all grow and evolve with time. The experiences we have, the pleasures, happiness, joy, pain, suffering, and exposure to various stages of life will change our values a bit.

“The only constant in life is change.” 

Heraclitus (philosopher)

Embrace the change. Don’t fight it. Calibrate your goals and values based on the grow you see in your life!

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do these habits and goals still serve me and my values? 


  • I keep forgetting to do my new habit! How can I remember?
  • Pair your new habit with an existing one. Brush your teeth, then do 5 push-ups. Stacking habits create cues.
  • I’m bored with my new habits. How do I stay motivated?
  • Remember your values and track your progress! Values give intrinsic motivation and seeing improvement makes us feel good. Reward yourself for milestones. Remember the path to growth is never linear but will lead to satisfaction and fulfillment
  • There are so many habit apps! Which one should I use?
  •  Start simple! Pen and paper work great. Experiment with different apps to find what fits your style.


Sai Subramaniam The digital Hope

Written by Sai Subramaniam

Sai has over 5 years of experience writing about mental health and productivity. He shares his thoughts about love, life, and business in this blog. His goal is to help people become the best version of themselves and is guided by experts in the psychology and mental health field to help educate everyone about lifestyle and productivity

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