Why do the exercise?
Our values have a large impact on whether we are satisfied with our lives and whether we have the motivation to participate in the things we are a part of. If you do not know your values, or what is important to you, then you can quickly end up in a place where you are not really happy with what you are doing. This can apply to jobs, hobbies and your life situation as a whole. It can also mean that you have a hard time standing up for yourself, or lack the feeling that you know who you are and what you stand for, which can be uncomfortable for many.
If you know your values, you can use them as a compass to navigate your life by. It makes it easier for you to know what direction in life you should be heading, and what is most important for you to achieve.
How to do the exercise.
Find a place where you can sit quietly for about 15-20 minutes. If you want to spend more time on the exercise, then you are free to do that as well. Make sure you have something to write on and with – post-it notes are particularly useful for this exercise, but normal paper is fine as well. Then you just need a pair of scissors as well.
- Start by choosing 10 values that are important to you. Examples of values could be; health, freedom, honesty, friendship, love, safety – and many others. If you have difficulty thinking of 10 values, then you can always look at the list of values at the bottom of this exercise for inspiration.
- Write down the 10 values, each on their own small piece of paper.
- Sort through the values, and gradually cut the number of values down – first to the 7 most important, and then to the 5 most important.
- When you have your 5 most important values selected, you lay them down in order, from most important, to least important.
- Look at the list that you have made. Does it look right to you? Remember that there is no ‘correct’ set of values or order, other than what you yourself feel is right. You are very welcome to make changes to both the order and the values that are on your list, if it does not feel right.
- Finally, you can look at your list and try to ask yourself the following questions:
- Why are these particular values important?
- Do you live by your values?
- What would it take for you to live by your values (to a greater extent)?
- What stands in the way of you living your values?
You can choose to write down your reflections, but you can also just keep them inside yourself – it’s up to you
Inspiration list of values
Harmony, presence, joy, self-care, romance, love, friendship, family, joy, humor, relationships, closeness, reason, rationality, duty, responsibility, morality, realism, tradition, structure, security, creativity, imagination, self-actualisation, curiosity, knowledge, freedom, achievement, prosperity, respect, development, learning, intelligence, power, strength, independence, community, individuality, challenge, spirituality, faith, rituals, altruism, charity, health, reflection, self-knowledge, naturalness, justice, courage, earthiness, reason, amusement, joy, relaxation, care, balance, safety