Becoming the best version of yourself begins with discovering and accepting who you truly are. Finding your core values is a great place to start.
Your core values direct what you need to do to be the happiest and most content version of yourself. When you’re feeling lost, they can help you make the right decisions.
Here’s a four-step exercise to help you discover your core values. And practical suggestions on how to live an intentional life centered on those values. This was inspired by a value exercise done by Muchelle B on her channel.
Core Values Exercise
Step 1 : Think About Your Highlights + Lowlights
Highlights : Consider the times in the last 2-3 years when you felt your best. What were you doing in those happy moments? Make a list of everything that comes to mind.
For example, when you accomplished a goal, surprised your mother, spent time with your friends, showed kindness to others, or did something out of your comfort zone.
Lowlights : Similar to highlights, think of the moments that made you feel bad. Sometimes you unintentionally do things that make you feel bad about yourself.
For example, when you engaged in a gossip session or when you passed up a good opportunity because you were afraid.
After you’ve listed them, you’ll begin to notice a pattern in these events; similar things that are repeated more than once. Perhaps you mentioned learning new things a few times in your highlights. These items represent what you value the most.
Step 2 : Choose Your Core Values
Here’s a list of most common core values. Download the PDF and encircle the words in the list that correspond to the values you discovered in the previous step.
For example, you mentioned reading, or learning in your highlights. So, circle values like learning, knowledge and growth.
Choose the values that best represent you.
Note : Often, people choose the values that they want to possess, which is incorrect. You have to choose values that resemble with the person YOU are RIGHT NOW. Don’t focus on aspirational values.
Step 3 : Group These Values
Now, group the values that are similar to you. Remember that you are the one who determines what the value means to you. Just like the value ‘learning’ can have different meaning for different people, and all definitions are valid.
For example, kindness, compassion and politeness can all fall under the same umbrella.
Make a maximum of 5 groups and remove the rest. Because by the end of this post, you’ll have created a life plan that intentionally focuses on each of these values. And you don’t want to be focusing on too many things at once.
Choose a word or value to represent the group.
Note : Don’t overthink this. Know that these values may change overtime. You are not supposed to be the same person your entire life. Return to this exercise whenever you are unsure about your values.
Step 4 : Building Intentional Routines
Now that you’ve identified your core values, work through them to incorporate them into your daily routine. You’d have to make intentional efforts to do more things that align with those values. This allows you to be true to yourself and become the best and happiest version of yourself.
Create two lists,
1. Things to do
Make a list of everything you need to do more of.
If you have gratitude as your core value, start making gratitude lists, saying thank you, or journaling.
2. Things not to do
On the contrary, make a list of the things you do in your daily life that are contradictory to your values. Things that are causing you to drift away from your values and your happiest self.
This list would make it easy for you to avoid these things.
For example, if you value health, sitting on the couch all day will not make you feel aligned to your true self.
How To Intentionally Add These Values In Your Life?
Now, incorporate as many things as you can from your ‘things to-do’ list in your daily routine. If you don’t already have one, create your daily routine around these values.
Also, it’s best to have a system in place, like a weekly or monthly routine, to help you reflect on your days. This allows you to determine whether your decisions and actions are consistent with your core values. If they don’t, it’s probably because you’re not being intentional enough.
How Intentional Are You About Your Core Values?
Comment below with the steps you plan to take to live a more contented and satisfied life. Return to this post whenever you’re at a crossroad with your values.