Wouldn’t it be nice to know what values serve you and don’t serve you to make the most of your life?

After I had my first son, I ended up going through a difficult time in my marriage that ended in a divorce. At the time, I placed health lower in my values. I was in a survival mode and needed to care for my family. Therefore, there are times in our lives when our values shift depending on what is needed at the time.

What are your values now? Are they serving you in your life now and where you want to go?


When we examine our values, we are filtering what is most important to us. They determine our motivation and inform our views on the world. Indeed, everything we experience is filtered through the lens of our beliefs and directly effect how we feel about what we see and do.

Most importantly, or values determine how much of our resources we are willing to exchange for all the different aspects of our lives, where we are willing to spend our time, energy and money.

3 Ways to Assess Your Values

Often when we feel unfulfilled or in a rut, it has to do with how we are living outside of our values. We can feel like we’re not serving our purpose or nourishing our minds, bodies, and souls. The good news is that this isn’t a mystery. There are simple assessments you can do to review what your values are, how you are actually living them, and whether they are working together.


“Yes, these are my values!”

There are many different things in life that we value. In fact, if I ask you to create a list of values, the list might quite lengthy. Even if you can only think of a few, the internet is crawling with “value sorting” advice. You’ll get a variety of lists, ranging in length from as high as 40 possible values all the way down to five.

The values that you list as most important in your life are your espoused values, those things which you believe and declare to be the most important parts of your life.

Values range in scope from general concepts like success to a more specific range like career success. When I work with clients, everyone is different, and I see a wide range of values. Some of the top values I see are:

  • Career
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Personal Growth & Development
  • Health & Fitness
  • Spirituality
  • Achievement
  • Adventure

If you haven’t taken stock of what is truly important to you, take the time now to write them down and prioritize your values. Which values do you think would best serve you right now? And which values will serve you in where you want to go in your life?

Writing them down is an important part of the process. You need to see what’s most important to you. For the sake of these assessments, circle your top five and rank them. These are your core values. Living up to these, feeds your very being.


“Take stock of where you are now in your life. “

This assessment checks these core values against your current priorities. It’s very quick and easy to see how ow are you acting on those values.

Remember, your values are what you are willing to exchange for time, energy, and money. So, for this assessment, you can grab your phone.

That’s right! You can do this whole thing on your phone in less than five minutes!

On your phone, review:

  • The last 3 posts on your personal social media
  • The last 5 pictures you took
  • The last 8 things you have paid for with your debit or credit card
  • The last 10 events on your calendar

By reviewing these four items, you can see exactly where your time, energy, and money have been going. How does it compare to your espoused values? That’s the third assessment.


"How do my values line up?"

If you find your current values are not in alignment with your espoused values, don’t be alarmed. These assessments are all about awareness, where you are versus where you want to be. And like I said before, there will be times in your life, like my divorce, where I had to cling on to the key, number one value of my life (family), and put the other values aside.

So, take stock of where you’ve been spending your resources and ask yourself if what you are doing is “fueling” you or “draining your tank:” Here are some guiding questions:

  • What values (and how you are acting on them) help you or hinder you right now?
  • Are you living the values that will best serve you and move you to where you want to be in your life? If not, how might they need to shift?
  • What actions can you take today to be more in alignment with the values that will best support you?
  • Where do you want to go in your life? Are you looking toward those values, or prioritizing new/different values?
  • What values are working in my life right now?
  • Are the current values in my life actually the values that are most important to me? Should I amend any of those espoused values?

Take time throughout the year to take stock of your values and how they fuel you. When you go to spend your valuable resources, remember you values. If it really isn’t something you espouse to do, maybe reconsider giving up that time, energy, or money.

Sunday the 21st is National Ice Cream Day. If health and fitness are important values to you, be mindful of them, not just your sweet tooth. Feeding your espoused values, consistently feeding those values, is vitally important to how we live our lives with purpose and meaning. Values are fuel for the mind, body, and soul.


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Specials thanks to the photographer, to see more work go to @jackwinbow on Instagram