Create meaningful core values

  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?

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Define Your Personal Values

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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.

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.

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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RELATED IDEAS

  1. Think through and describe the following in detail: What have been your 3 greatest accomplishments and 3 greatest moments of efficiency and what are any common themes that you can identify?
  2. Think through and describe the following in detailWhat have been your 3 greatest failures and 3 greatest moments of inefficiency and the common themes that you can identify?
  3. Identify 3-4 brief sentences of advice you would give to yourself based upon these commonalities.
  4. Try and reduce them to a few words. 
  5. Test the value. Think of a situation where following your core value hurts you rather than helps you. 

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Adapt and Change Your Values When Needed

Your personal values aren't set in stone. While some of your core values will probably stay the same throughout your life, others may change as your life circumstances change or simply as you get older and start to have a different view of what’s important.

It’s worth checking in yearly to see if your values have changed.

Defining Your Values
  1. Identify the times when you were happiest. 
  2. Identify the times when you were most proud. 
  3. Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied. 
  4. Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment. 
  5. Prioritize your top values.

  6. Reaffirm your values. 

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