Why Personal Core Values Are Important

Values are a part of us. They highlight what we stand for. Values guide our behavior, providing us with a personal code of conduct.

When we honor our personal core values consistently, we experience fulfillment.

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Define Your Personal Values

Knowing your personal values changes your behavior.

For instance: When you value health, you don’t have to wrestle with managing impulse control as much. If you know a particular food or activity isn’t good for your body, you don’t want it.

  1. Start with a beginner’s mind, someone with no preconceived notions of what is.
  2. Create your list of personal values. 
  3. Chunk your personal values into related groups. 
  4. Highlight the central theme of each value group. 
  5. Determine your top Personal Core Values. Whittle your list down to 5 - 10 core values and rank them in order of importance.
  6. Give your personal values richer context. Highlight values into memorable phrases or sentences.
  7. Test the ecology of each value. Review your list a day later: Are they personal to you? Do you see any values that feel inconsistent?
Living Your Personal Values

Assess how well you’re honoring each value by scoring each one on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 = optimally living the value).

  • What’s your level of satisfaction with each value?
  • Record your score for each. 
  • Date the top of the column. Repeat this exercise once a month or quarter to assess your progress.
  • If you score below 7 in a particular value, what changes do you need to make? 
  • What has to happen for you to further honor this value?
Use Core Values to Make Decisions

Knowing your personal core values and their order of priority is helpful in making difficult decisions.

  • Start by scoring your values. Then, imagine your life several months or years from now having decided.
  • Step into this future picture as much as you can. Have it come alive in your mind.

  • Score your personal values while keeping the vision alive in your mind. Does it cause friction with one of your higher values?

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