How do I live an ethical life?
Ethical living isn't about living by someone else's values. Instead, it's about staying true to your best self. This requires you to identify your values and then to use them to guide you through life.
Understand Your Values as They Apply to Ethical Living
Ethical living links tightly to your personal values. The first step is to define your values. Your code of ethics could revolve around being kind to others. You may also base your values on your desire for personal development or broader concepts like animal rights and climate change.
When choosing your ethics, focus on your values and what matters to you. Living an ethical life isn't about pleasing anyone else. It's about defining the life you want to live and striving to be in line with it.
Change Behaviors That Misalign With Your Values
If you're not living in line with your values, try to adjust. For example, you might see generosity as one of your values. If you feel like you are not generous, you can make changes to feel more in line with your ethics. For instance, you might start volunteering at a homeless shelter, giving money to charity, or helping friends and family with their problems.
A common reason that people don't take more ethical actions is that they lack the time. This is where reducing behaviors that are not in line with your values can help. Are there activities that you can cut out from your day that would give you the time to use for activities that align with your values? For example, do you spend time scrolling on social media? Are you hanging out with people that don't benefit your goals? Or generally procrastinating? Of course, we all have responsibilities that we can't just cut out from our day, but if you start by focusing on swapping a few activities with those that align with your values it can have a big impact.
Take Small Steps That Help You Grow
If you try to change everything at once, you might get overwhelmed and lose motivation. Change one behavior at a time and congratulate yourself when you succeed. Positive reinforcement is key.
Personal ethics are fluid throughout life because values can change. There will always be times when you feel the need to reevaluate and make adjustments to how you live, so you are closer to what you see as an ethical life.