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Core Personal Values & Beliefs: Definitions, List & Examples

Stock to your personal values seems simple enough in theory. After all, you are the individual who assigns these core values to yourself. Your values are what are truly important in your personal life, so it should be one’s natural instinct to follow them.

However, the vast majority of individuals are putting their values aside each and every day. This prevents them from living a fulfilling life and achieving many of the value-driven goals they previously had in mind.

Regardless of which career you have or which specific goals you have, values should always be prioritized. While this can clearly be challenging at times, everyone is also capable of living a value-oriented lifestyle.

In this article, we will discuss the most common personal values and the benefits of placing value on values.

Personal Values – Definition & List of Examples

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What Are Personal Values? Definition

Personal values are the real priorities you have in life. They are anything that you find immensely important and the characteristics that drive you to pursue your dreams and shape the way you approach decisions. For instance, one common value is honesty.

People who value honesty believe that always telling the truth is extremely important. They speak their mind, even if it means giving negative criticism. If they sugarcoat something, they may feel like they have not upheld their value.

Everyone has their own unique, exhaustive list of values. While someone’s values list includes cooperation and friendliness, someone else may prioritize independence and competitiveness.

There is no objective right or wrong value. Define your values by what motivates you and what makes you happy, even if it seems strange to others.

Importance of Personal Values and List with Benefits

Personal values help guide you when making decisions. They allow you to clearly identify what makes you happy, and which choices can contribute to you living the best life possible; values can make a person happy after they make the correct career choice that aligns with their passions.

Values drive each and every one of our actions, so it is important to ensure your values are consistent and clearly thought out. While there is a huge list of benefits to having values, below is just 10 examples of their benefits:

Benefits of Personal Values

  1. Increases self-awareness.
  2. Positively influence career outcomes, likely leading to a more fulfilling and successful career.
  3. Boost the quality of one’s daily life.
  4. Helps individuals make sounder decisions.
  5. Assists people in goal-setting (especially when it comes to big, long-term goals).
  6. Boosts confidence.
  7. Can help you become more persistent and get you through a tough time.
  8. Eliminates clutter and unnecessary distractions from work or in relationships.
  9. Reduces stress levels and burnout rates.
  10. Encourages more assertive behavior.

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How to Define and Identify Personal Values (Guide)

Defining your values is a bit like self-exploration. You get to understand your major goals, what’s important to you, and the life trajectory you would like to see yourself go on. There are a number of crucial steps you should take before identifying your values, and there are simple ways to optimize your value application.

Below is an outline for how to identify and apply your values:

Step 1: Identify the times when you were happiest

Happiness and satisfaction are two metrics that are crucially important to your life experience. One of the main purposes of having values to guide you is to identify what specifically makes you happy.

Try to look back on both your career and personal life to see what truly made you smile. This will add variety and balance to your answers. Ask yourself: what tasks was I performing? Who was I surrounded by? Where was I? Did anything else contribute to my happiness at that moment?

Step 2: Identify the times when you were most proud

Everyone has some moment that they felt extremely proud of. Whether it be overcoming a fear, challenging yourself, or something else, look back at the career and personal instances where you felt proud.

Recall why you were proud, who contributed to your pride, who shared the pride with you (if anyone),  and any other factors that made you swell with pride.

Step 3: Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied

Satisfaction and fulfillment must be achieved both professionally and personally to truly live the best life possible. That is why it is crucial to (again) consider both personal and career examples of moments where you felt fulfilled.

Which specific need was fulfilled? Did this moment give you any long-lasting meaning/impact? Did any other factor make you feel satisfied?

Step 4: Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment

Look back on each of the prior instances you have recalled. Why are they memorable to you? Which value motivated you to achieve something, better yourself, or boost your happiness?

There is a list of dozens of values that could have potentially contributed to your satisfaction, happiness, and pride, so reflect on those moments and analyze which of these values contributed most to these moments.

Step 5: Prioritize your top values

This step could be the most challenging, as it requires deep personal reflection and commitment. When making any decision, a value will be upheld. However, you need to ensure that those values are aligned with the ones you previously outlined.

Try writing down your top values. Then, imagine a scenario where you could only satisfy one of these values. Consider which one you would prioritize, and compare each of your values until you have your values ranked in order of importance.

Step 6: Reaffirm your values

Look back on the list you have just created and ensure it satisfies your goals, desires, and vision for your future.

Ask yourself: do these values reflect me as a person? Would I be comfortable sharing them with those I care about? Am I proud of these values? If you answered yes to these questions, you have likely selected the right values for your own unique journey.

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How to Prioritise Your Personal Values?

Once you have a list of your top values, prioritizing certain values is essential. There will be times where you have to choose between fulfilling one value or another, and making the right decision is crucial in such circumstances.

Also, prioritizing values helps you better understand yourself and your goals. You may have a relatively broad list of values that includes everything from adventure to cooperation to kindness, and so on.

However, value prioritization makes planning decisions simpler. For instance, if you clearly prioritize risk-taking, you can plan to start a new business as your top goal. On the other hand, if you value kindness, you can put an emphasis on volunteering in your free time.

Of course, you should try living according to all your values. However, it’s unrealistic to think all your values can be fulfilled with every decision. You need to understand what is most important to you and focus on those particular value-based tasks, as they will have the greatest payoff.

20 Examples of Personal Core Values

Everyone has their own unique set of values, but sometimes it can be hard to narrow them down and identify values that reasonable to you.

If you are struggling to find your values, the following list of values may help inspire you:

  1. Friendship
  2. Determination
  3. Confidence
  4. Risk-taking/courage
  5. Persistence and perseverance
  6. Creativity
  7. Independence
  8. Intelligence
  9. Honesty
  10. Authenticity
  11. Dependability
  12. Justice
  13. Compassion
  14. Spontaneity
  15. Security
  16. Fitness
  17. Leadership
  18. Personal development
  19. Patience
  20. Encouragement

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How to Adapt and Change Your Values When Needed

It is possible that your values may need to change throughout your life. While some of your core values will probably remain with you, others may change as you get Jew goals, insights, opportunities, and experience.

Even if your values do stay the same, their order of priority may change. When you are young, you are more likely to prioritize risk-taking or creativity. As you get older and start a family, you may begin to value security and fiscal stability more.

How to Adapt and Change Your Values When Needed

After divorce, you may begin to value exploration more. As you can see, values are dependent on your current situation and can change from time to time. Check in to see if your values change. Create a new set of values, prioritize them, and see if anything changes from the prior brainstorming session.

Do this at least once a year and after every major life event (divorce, new job, getting fired, extreme illness, etc). Reread your values more often, though. If you feel a value no longer represents your goals and vision, consider revising your list.

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How to Live Your Values With Integrity and Use Them to Make Decisions

Simply listing out your values is a good start to living a more fulfilling life, but it doesn’t actually change much. To truly get your life aligned with your goals, you must first align your actions with your values.

Many people struggle with the execution elements of value application, but it does not have to be complex or confusing.

Below, we will discuss ways to apply your values to your everyday life and daily decision-making.

Use Your Values for Goal Setting

Consider whether or not you are currently living by your values if your career aligns with your values, and if the time you are spending on daily activities reflects the values you outlined for yourself. If not, then no need to fret.

Simply look back on the value list you created and come up with an activity that could align with each value. For instance, individuals who value persistence can commit to doing one challenging task each day.

Or, if you care about mental toughness or resilience, commit to starting the day with an extremely cold shower. At the end of the brainstorming session, you will likely have a large list of tasks you could perform for each value.

How to Live Your Values With Integrity and Use Them to Make Decisions

Make Decisions According to Your Values

Do not reflect the importance of making value-based decisions daily, even if they seem like small, insignificant decisions.

Do your current decisions align with your values? If you value leadership, are you out there motivating your team, or are you letting someone else take charge? Making value-based decisions is challenging to some, but a number of strategies can help make this process easier.

Try reading your value list each morning, visualizing how you can make decisions based on your values, setting reminders that note your values, making your cellphone’s background your value list, or analyzing ways you could have decided differently if you make a decision that goes against your values.

Possible Barriers to Overcome

The previously described steps seem simple enough, yet people still struggle to implement their personal values. Often, this is because of a lack of clarity or the potential for conflict. If you value risk-taking, but the rest of your family values security, pursuing your value can be extremely difficult.

The practicality of your situation may limit your pursuit of values. For instance, you could value leadership, but you are placed in a junior position because of your age. Remember that there is more than just one way to make a value-based decision and that sometimes, compromises will be necessary.

Create a caveat to your value (such as, “I will take risks, as long as it doesn’t endanger my family’s income”). You could fight for change on behalf of your values, or try to focus on your own decisions without causing conflict with your peers.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Values

What are the Top 5 Core Personal Values?

Everyone’s list of values is different, as it depends on their current life circumstances, goals, background, passions, and so on. However, there are a few common values that are prioritized by people across the globe. These include values such as kindness, honesty, loyalty, responsibility, and courage.

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