Overcoming Overwhelm: How to Identify your Core/True North Values: an Exercise

This exercise is a great start for understanding what is most important to you. Think values and ideals you would want to line up with your choices on a daily basis. If you’re trying to have less stress, if you want to be less overwhelmed, lining your choices up with your values is a big piece of making that happen.

Of course here and there we always make choices that aren’t truly lined up with who we are, or who we want to be but even being conscious of when we’re choosing that can be a game changer.


I pulled my list from several sources but the list could be endless, really. The list we use in my book Overcoming Overwhelm: Dismantle Your Stress From the Inside Out long and quite comprehensive. You can download it along with the full exercise HERE. And while you’re at it, you are also welcome to download a sample chapter from the book as well!)

And if you want more values to choose from/consider you can also ask the google—there are many similar versions of this exercise online!

For the record, I find that for most people core values are relatively stable over time, though they can change with big paradigm shifts, of course.

What I want you to do is think about the things that are most important to you. Think about which of these things, or other ideals you would want your choices to line up with on a daily basis.

  1. Go through a values words list and circle anything that you would consider to be important to you.
  2. Add anything that you think is important to you that you didn’t see on this list.
  3. Organize the words you chose into groups by similar meaning.
  4. For each group choose one key word that could represent all of the words in that group. For example if you chose dependability, ethics, fairness, honesty, integrity, loyalty, trustworthiness. You could choose ‘integrity’ because it encapsulates all of the words in this set. If there are some that stand alone, this would be a key word.
  5. Make a new list with these key words.
  6. Choose your top ten values from this list.
  7. Finally, narrow it down to your top five. I know that can be difficult, and it doesn’t mean that the words that don’t make it into your top five aren’t important values, but you need to know what is most important.

The download has an expanded version of these instructions as well.

Happy New Year!



PS If you want some ongoing support for making choices in alignment with your values, please join me in my Facebook group Dr. Samantha’s Health Forum. A totally non-judgmental place to work on your health, energy, and peace of mind.

How to Identify your Core/True North Values: an Exercise

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