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What Are Your Personal Values? How to Define & Live by Them

Personal Values (And Why They Matter)

Personal values are the things that are important to us, the characteristics and behaviours that motivate us and guide our decisions. For example honesty or kindness.

Values matter because you’re likely to feel better if you’re living according to your values and to feel worse if you don’t. This applies both to day-to-day decisions and to larger life choices.

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What Are Your Personal Values? How to Define & Live by Them

What Are Your Personal Values? How to Define & Live by Them

https://business.tutsplus.com/tutorials/what-are-personal-values--cms-31561

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Key Ideas

Personal Values (And Why They Matter)

Personal values are the things that are important to us, the characteristics and behaviours that motivate us and guide our decisions. For example honesty or kindness.

Values matter because you’re likely to feel better if you’re living according to your values and to feel worse if you don’t. This applies both to day-to-day decisions and to larger life choices.

Define Your Personal Values

Find out what characteristics or ways of behaving makes you feel good. Answer the following questions:

  • What's important to you in life?
  • If you could have any career, without worrying about money or other practical constraints, what would you do?
  • When you’re reading news stories, what sort of story or behaviour tends to inspire you?
  • What type of story or behaviour makes you angry?
  • What do you want to change about the world or about yourself?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • When were you the happiest?

Prioritise Your Personal Values

Once you’ve come up with a list, it's important to prioritise your values.

It can help you get even closer to defining what’s important to you. Prioritising helps you to ensure that you’re spending them on the most important things that'll have the biggest payoff in your life.

Live Your Values and Use Them

  • Use Your Values for Goal Setting. For each of your values, make a list of things you could do to put those values into practice. For example, if you wrote “Learning,” you could go back to college and do that degree you’ve always dreamed of. 
  • Make Decisions According to Your Values. If you value health, do you always take care of your body, or do you sometimes end up eating burgers instead of bulgur?
  • Possible Barriers to Overcome. Discrepancy between your values and some else's. You could choose to focus on your own actions and on living according to your own values, without challenging those around you who live differently.

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.

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Personal Values and Behavior

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.

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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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. 

Defining Success

Life is a tragic thing to waste, and if you are not living your own set of values, you need to assess if:

  • Where you are investing your mental and physical energy?
  • W...
A Significant Life

Success without a life of significance is a waste, and if you are not happy, then success becomes meaningless. To have a life of significance, focus on the following dimensions:

  • Personal development.
  • Family.
  • Work-class work ethics.
  • An elevating network of friends and well-wishers.
  • Finding purpose in life, and making a difference.
Robin Sharma
Robin Sharma

"Greatness comes from living for a cause larger than you. And leaving our world better than you found it."