Getting in touch with your values: What kind of life do you want to lead?

August Comments

What are values and how are they different from goals?

Deep down, what is important to you in the way you live your life? Do you have a sense of the qualities you want to bring to your work or study? Do you have ideas about the personal attributes that you want to bring to your most important relationships?

Most of us have a sense of things that we would like to accomplish in our lives and the goals we would like to ‘tick off’ the list. However, we often forget to think about the way in which we want to pursue these goals and what we want to stand for along the way. These are our values.

Values are important in goal-setting

Have you ever found yourself working towards a particular goal, but feeling that your heart wasn’t really in it? When we set up and work towards goals in life, it is really important to first get in touch with our values. When we get to know our values, we can use them as the underlying foundation for our goals. Working towards goals that line up with our personal values can help to create a life that is authentic, purposeful and meaningful.

Values can help us with everyday choices

Our values are like the compass guiding us through life. They give us information about important directions we can choose to travel in. When we make contact with our values, we can make mindful choices about how we handle difficult situations, our behaviour towards others, how we treat ourselves and how to make the most out of the precious moments in life.


Discovering your values

If you would like to get started in thinking about your values, you might try reflecting on these questions:

  • What kind of a partner/ sibling/ friend/ parent/ colleague do I want to be?
  • When I’m facing challenging moments in life, what do I want to stand for?
  • What qualities do I want to model to others on a daily basis?

Your values are your own. Just like your favourite ice cream flavour, they don’t need to be justified to others! There are a lot of different flavours and combinations out there and some will just be more to your taste. Some words that others have used to describe their values include: respect, connection, justice, curiosity, courage, flexibility, gratitude, authenticity, trust, persistence and compassion, creativity, assertiveness, forgiveness (just to name a small handful!).

If you are interested to learn more about values, here is a useful video by values expert, DJ Moran:


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