Identifying Your Values


Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of work with clients on identifying and living by their values. Values can be defined as: a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life. I believe that having a set of values is so incredibly important. Your values help you figure out what you want out of life. They also shape the way  you act in situations. Some people lack awareness into what their values are. Oftentimes, this can lead to difficulty integrating values into everyday life, and living out these values.

Analyzing Your Values

When beginning to explore your values, consider looking up a comprehensive list and definitions online. I encourage my clients to read through these lists and rank them in order of importance. You may find that the values you prioritize are similar or seem to relate to one another. For example, freedom and independence, or honesty and loyalty. After you rank your values in order of importance, start examining which people or events instilled these values as being important in your life. Maybe being bullied taught you the value of compassion. Perhaps seeing how hard your father worked to put you through college instilled in you the value of hard work and education.

Living By Your Goals

After you’ve prioritized your values and identified where they came from, look to the future and set goals that will help you live your life by them. If respect is important to you, how do you plan to demonstrate respect to other people? If you value health, what actions can you take to show that? Make sure you are checking in with yourself on a regular basis to track your progress on living by your values. If you think it would be helpful to have someone else hold you accountable to your values consider sharing your goals with another person.

If you are struggling to identify your values, where they came from, or what goals you can set to live by them, consider working with a counselor at The Light Program. Counselors can help hold you accountable to follow through with the goals you set, and assist you in problem solving any issues that come up as you work to integrate your values into your everyday life.