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.


Following is a partial list of things that you might consider core values. I pulled these 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 is longer and more comprehensive but if you want more examples you can also ask the google—there are many versions of this exercise online!

Or, you are welcome to download the actual exercise that we are using in the book. And while you're at it, you are also welcome to download a sample chapter as well. 🙂

On the topic in general, 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 this 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.
Core Values
CommitmentCommunicationCommunityConnecting to othersConnection with natureControl
Emotional HealthEthicsExcellenceFairnessFaithFame
FamilyFast PaceFinancial StabilityFlexibilityFreedomFriendship
FulfillmentFunGoodnessHealthHealthy LivingHeritage
Holistic LivingHonestyHumorInfluenceInner PeaceInspiration
LoyaltyNon-violenceOptimismPartnershipPersonal GrowthPhysical Appearance
PromotionProsperityReasonRecognitionRespectRisk Taking
TravelTrustTruthVitalityWalking your talkWisdom

If you have any questions, hop on over to my contact page and let me know! 🙂