Core values are the principles and beliefs by which we live our lives, make our decisions, and interact with the world around us. They also play a big role in how we feel and respond to certain situations. If you're ever feeling unhappy or dissatisfied, it could be because your core values aren't aligned with what's going on in your world. By knowing your core values, you can make positive changes.
Here's how to identify and understand your core values:
Self-Reflection: Consider the moments when you felt most fulfilled, satisfied, or proud. Think about times when you were happiest, motivated, and deeply connected to your actions.
Prioritise Experiences: Think back on significant experiences and achievements in your life. Analyse each one and ask why it was important to you. Look for common themes among these experiences.
Identify What Matters: Explore various aspects of life, like relationships, career, personal growth, community, health, and spirituality. Figure out what matters most in each area and why. Think about what you'd stand up for or sacrifice in those areas.
Be Authentic: Be honest with yourself when identifying your core values. Don't try to meet others' expectations; focus on what truly resonates with you.
Envision Your Ideal Life: Imagine your perfect life, both personally and professionally. What does it look like? What values are evident in that vision?
Seek Feedback: Talk to people who know you well and ask for their input on the values they see you embodying in your actions and decisions.
Narrow Down Your List: Aim for a list of about 5-10 core values that feel most significant to you.
Test Your Values: Live by these values intentionally for a while and observe how they impact your decisions and emotions. Are you happier and more aligned with yourself?
Revisit and Adjust: As you grow and evolve, your core values may change. Take the time to reassess and refine your list as needed.
The best way to understand your values is by examining different aspects of your life. A good place to start is by looking at your priorities, passions, principles, and experiences. Here are some self-reflection questions to help you get started. You might like to write your answers down in a journal or notebook so that you can look back on them later.
What principles are you most passionate about?
What are three things that are important to you?
What are your top priorities?
What experiences have been most meaningful to you?
What things contribute most to how you live your life?
What values do you want to pass on to your children?
What are you willing to model or teach to others?
How do I most want to make a difference in the world?
What motivates you?
What expectations do you hold for yourself?
Do you ever feel you struggle trying to live up to expectation? Are they your expectations, or someone else’s?
What are the principles of your family and friends?
Who and what do you feel most influences your decisions and life choices?
Are there any common rules or themes that you live by?
What are you hoping to achieve in life?
If time and money were not limited, what would you do?
What are three things on your bucket list?
What do you like most about yourself?
What do you like least about yourself?
Describe your ideal world. (Who would be in it, what would you be doing, etc.)
What kind of a person do you want to be?
What does being happy mean to you?
What brings you meaning in life?
When do you feel most at peace?
Remember that discovering your core values is an ongoing process, and it's okay to take your time. The more you understand your values, the better equipped you'll be to make choices that align with your true self and lead to a more fulfilling life.