In December of 2019, I helped host a women’s retreat in Des Moines. Since the retreat took place right before the new year, it was a good time to help participants take time to think about their priorities and values. Identifying individual values is critical as you work toward defining or revisiting your life’s purpose. Even more importantly, your values help you live out your purpose, guiding not only the thoughts and people you allow into your life, but also the activities you say “yes” or “no” to participating in.

As a new year approaches again, it is a good time to re-evaluate values—especially after the year we’ve all endured!

Follow the five steps below to narrow down and identify the values you find most significant to your own purpose.
  1. Print out (or write down) the list of values below. You may find it helpful to cut out each word into its own square, allowing you to move around and prioritize the values that most resonate with you as you work through the list.

  2. Narrow the list down to 15 values that you identify as important to you by eliminating those that aren’t as important to you.

  3. Take a moment to think about this list and narrow it down again to eight values. Removing words from your list doesn’t mean they aren’t a part of your life or that you don’t respect or value the words meaning; it just means they are less important in your day-to-day than the remaining values.

  4. As an effort to consider what is truly the most important to you, narrow your list down again to four values. Theses final four are the most important to you at this point in your life and hold the most weight.

  5. Intentionally make space for the four values. Choosing behaviors, activities, words in conversations that align most with these final four will show you where your interests and passions are and allow you to live your most authentic life. 

Family
Courage
Comfort
Diversity
Trust
Forgiveness
Creativity & Innovation
Fun
Fitness
Mindfulness & Presence
Adventure
Change
Professional Achievement
Commitment
Personal Achievement
Wisdom
Benevolence & Generosity
Fairness
Time Off
Adventure
Faith/Spirituality
Growth
Accountablility
Nutrition
Kindness
Drive & Determination
Teamwork
Balance
Recognition
Love
Structure
Volunteerism & Service
Simplicity
Punctuality
Curiosity
Joy
Authority

About the Author:
Jessica Nelsen is the Community Impact Coordinator in Health for United Way of Central Iowa. She also co-owns Sisterhood Soup, an organization working to connect women to a community of supportive sisters and empower them to discover their inherent magic.

TAGS: Health, Mental Health, Powered by Purpose

Erin Drinnin

About The Author: Erin Drinnin

Erin Drinnin is United Way's Community Impact Officer for Health.