Today I want to share some tips and ideas to help you with figuring out your values. I defined my values back in 2015 and they are still steering me and my life decisions 5 years later! You can read more about my process here.
Why Do I Need to Know My Values?
- Values can help give your life meaning.
- They can help steer your direction and decisions you make.
- Knowing your values gives you some roots and grounding to help you grow as a person.
- Making decisions and commitments becomes easier because you can weigh them up against your values.
- Your values almost become part of your gut feeling – they help alongside your intuition.
- I wholeheartedly recommend taking the time for figuring out your values – it has changed my life!
Figuring Out Your Values – Getting Started
- Set some time aside to do this. Ideally you want an hour – maybe longer. If you can – find some peace and quiet. Prepare your favourite drink, maybe light a candle and gather up some paper and a pen.
- Start with a list of possible values (I’ll be sending a list of values out to email subscribers this week so sign up to receive your copy. If you’re reading this later – drop me an email).
- Savour the list. Work through each word. Say it in your head and maybe even aloud. Does it mean anything to you? If it sparks a feeling highlight it. If it doesn’t leave it be. And if you’re unsure what a word means look it up. Work your way through the whole list. Try to highlight at least 20 words.
- Sometimes thinking about the antonyms or the opposites of the words can be helpful. Thinking “I definitely don’t want to be that!” about the opposite of the word may help you figure out if it has meaning to you.
- And also if there are words on the list that you are turned off by – have a way to mark them – the antonyms of these words may hold value for you.
- Another thing to remember is that it’s your interpretation of the word that counts! (For example: Understanding is one of my values – and I chose it because of its many definitions. For me it means empathy and also learning/figuring things out. But it may have another meaning to you.)
Figuring Out Your Values – Picking the Right Ones for You
- Once you get to the end of the list have a look at all the ones you’ve marked or highlighted. Do some of the words mean more? Give them an extra mark!
- Now write each of your highlighted words on individual slips of paper. Post-it’s can work well or just scrap paper. Add a star to any that really stand out for you.
- Can you group any of the words together? Do they hold similar meaning to you? If so – which word best encapsulates all of the ones in a group?
- Try to prioritise or order them in some way. Which ones feel more important?
- Tips for whittling the list down – take each word in turn:
- Can you think of examples of when this value has been important in your life and steered you?
- If you choose this word what would that mean? Can you actively live life according to this value?
- Remember – these are your values – try not to be influenced by any external judgements of the words you choose. We are all different and how awesome is that?!
- You can have as many values as you like. I have 5. I’d suggest aiming for 3-6 as more than that may result in less focus on them.
- Once you’ve got a few picked out – sit with them for a few days. Pin them up somewhere you will see them each day. Do they feel right? You can always come back and tweak.
An activity I did to expand on my Values was to create a sheet for each one.
On it I listed:
- What the word means to me
- Characteristics of the Value
- Examples of the Value
- And Non-Examples (what would be going against the meaning of the value)
I found this helpful to get to know each value even more. You can see my values and the sheets I created for each one here .
I’d love to know what you come up with – please drop me a message or leave a comment if you find this activity helpful.
And don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list to receive the list of Values and other monthly freebies.