Values are different from resolutions and goals in so much that they guide us, they offer a way to align ourselves to the things that we feel really matter. We all hold a core set of values which influence our thoughts and behaviours. When we uncover our values, we can see what it is that motivates and directs us through life.
Many of us will be familiar with experiencing times where we feel discontented or ‘out-of-sorts’. There may be various reasons that influence these feelings, some may well be out of our control, but an important exercise to do at these times is to revisit our values or even discover them! I would just like to add at this point that value discovery is not something that is only done once. Values may change, develop or evolve into new morals. Also, they may disappear, what was a value to you in your teenage years may not be a value when you’re in your sixties.
So, find time for yourself, or with a partner, or even with your family and approach your value investigations with curiosity and an open mind to delve into them deeper.
I have created a printable document which you can use to do the value sort exercise. Please email me amy@elementsofwellness to receive your free printable copy..
- You will need to print off and cut the cards. There are three cards which act as headers
‘VALUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO ME’, ‘VALUES THAT ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO ME’ AND ‘VALUES THAT ARE NOT IMPORTANT TO ME’.
- When you are settled and ready you can start working through your deck of cards. Each card states a word which may be a potential life value to someone, subtly consider the headings as mentioned above when sorting through them. The selection of your chosen value cards will be more intuitive than rational, try and be comfortable with that. So, what ‘feels’ important to you, rather than what you think is important to you. Take your time.
- When you have visited each of the cards you can begin to decide on the values that resonate with you. Place them under the three heading cards.
- Once you have sorted the values select 10 cards that are most important to you. Once you have done this try and order the 10 cards from most important to least important.
- You can then think of some scenarios and apply your values to the situation. For example if ‘nurturing’ is in your top 10, do you nurture areas of your life? Perhaps your children, your garden or do you feel that you perhaps neglect these areas in terms of nurturing?
- Think about what you could do to nurture this area? Perhaps nurturing for you (which you need to establish) means to tend to your garden each week or cook a home-cooked meal for your children? To help meet this value you may decide that on the weekend you will prepare a home-cooked meal with your children, or you will create space each week to spend time tending to your garden.
Before you start, I just want to remind and you that this exercise is about cultivating personal and harmonious development. It is an exercise which is not only individual, but is personal, intuitive, free of judgement and expectations and very importantly, it is subject to change! Use this time to build a connection with yourself and discover what really matters to you!
Rogers, C.R. (1961). On Becoming a Person. London: Constable and Robinson Ltd.
William R. Miller, W.R., Baca, J. C., Daniel B. Matthews, D. B & Wilbourne, P. L. (2001). Personal Values Card Sort. University of New Mexico Department of Psychology.