How to Identify Your Values




Are you acting in accordance with your values?


What values do you consider most important in your life? Do these values actually align with how you’re living? When you’re feeling lost or stuck, identifying what your values are can help create a sense of meaning, direction, and can guide your actions. It can also help set short and long-term goals. Values are overarching principles that act as a life compass. Goals are the specific and measurable plans for the future.


Your values are your north star. They are what matters most to you.


When our actions aren’t in line with our values, it can lead to low sense of self, a lack of healthy boundaries, depression, anxiety, or feeling lost or stuck. You may also feel that it is difficult to make decisions. Values can help identify the sort of person you want to be and the personal strengths or qualities you want to embody.


Everyone has their own set of unique values. There is no right or wrong way to answer these questions.


Think about the various aspects of your life:

  • Job

  • Family

  • Parenting

  • Relationship with yourself

  • Intimate relationships

  • Social relationships

  • Work/education

  • Leisure

  • Spirituality

  • Health

  • Community and environment

  • Other


What is most important or meaningful to you in each of these? Take some time to jot down a few words or sentences that come to mind in each area. Identify your core values by highlighting what matters most to you. Ideally, how would you like to be or act in each aspect of your life?


Now take a look at what you wrote. On a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being not at all and 10 being extremely, how important are each of these in your life? Once you’ve done that, go back and rank them again. This time, rank how effective you are at living by the values you’ve identified. 0 being that you are not living by your values at all and 10 meaning that you are living fully by your values.


What have you noticed? What is most important in your life?


Now, take some time and identify what you are neglecting. Which areas had the biggest discrepancies? Did you find that you spend a lot of your time doing things you don’t really value? Or not enough time and energy on aspects that you do?


What do you want to do more of? What do you want to do less of? What is getting in your way?


Once you've taken some time to identify your values, write a list of three small actionable steps or changes you could make in your life that would allow you to act in accordance with your values. What would be the barriers to change and can you brainstorm solutions to move past them? Identify people in your life that could provide healthy feedback and support.