Exercise: Identifying Your Current Values

January 30, 2019

It takes time and effort to discover your Core Values. But, the exercise is worth it. Determining your Core Values will help you better understand your behavior.

Begin by making a comprehensive list of your values. This exercise will take some time. Don’t hurry. You are looking for the building blocks that govern your behavior. For many individuals, this will be a difficult task. Life has not trained us to look for the basis of why we behave as we do. We just act. Seldom, if ever, do we seek for the reason or grounds for those actions.

  1. Step one in coming face-to-face with your value system is to list on a piece of paper what words describe you? Write down all the words that come to mind. Your list may include, energetic, loyal, trustworthy, worrier, laid-back, shrewd, hard worker, humble, honest, wise, courageous, success-orientated, and friendly. Don’t stop until you have listed at least 15 words. List only those things that you genuinely believe are descriptive of you.
  2. Review your list and trim it to eight or ten words. When two words are similar, choose the one that better fits.

Your list of words reflects how you see yourself. If you see yourself as honest, you value honesty—in yourself and others. If you see yourself as courageous, you value courage. Seeing yourself as friendly is a sign that you value friendliness.   

  1. Write short, concise, positive statements identifying things you value. Begin each statement with “I ______________” and then fill in the blank. The list could include:
  2. I am a born-again Christian.
  3. I like to travel.
  4. I love my family.
  5. I am a hard-working employee.
  6. I like gardening
  7. I exercise regularly
  8. I am honest
  9. I am thrifty
  10. I like to shop.
  11. I like to help others.
  12. I have a positive attitude
  13. I study my Bible

You will quickly notice that an active verb follows each “I” because things you believe in are often reflections of your values.

Your list should contain no more than 12 values. Of these only a few values can be truly fundamental—that is, so necessary and deeply held that they will seldom change, if ever. People will go to great lengths in order not to compromise their fundamental or Core Values.

After you have taken the first three steps—identified words that define you, trimmed the list and written them down in a short statement—you need to make one additional step:

  1. Rearrange your list in order of importance. Doing this will encourage you to prioritize your list. At the top will be the value of most importance to you and next on the list will be your second most important value and so on.

Once you have your list of values, you will want to discover how your values stack up to God’s Master Values.