Values Exercise

There are times when we find ourselves feeling out of sorts and questioning what we are doing with our lives.  There can be many reasons for this questioning. It can be part of our normal adult development and related to our stage of life. Or, it may be because the life we are living is inconsistent with our values.  No matter the reason, it may be helpful to take inventory of how you are running your life. The following exercise can help you look at your values and reflect on the consistency between your values and your behaviors. 

Directions:

  1. Take a few minutes to read and reflect on the values domains listed below.
  2. Rank order the domains by circling a number in the Rank Order column to the right of each value sorting the values domains from most to least important.
  3. After you have completed sorting, reflect on what your responses mean to you. That is, why are the items at the top of your list important to you? What clusters of items are related? And, perhaps most importantly, do your behaviors indeed reflect what you say is important?

 Value
  Rank Order

BELONGING: To feel a strong sense of mutual connection with family, friends, your work, a cause, etc.

 1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

CONTROL: To have a felt sense of personal power in your own life.

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

CREATIVITY: To have opportunities in your work and/or personal life to create new and original ideas, concepts, programs, etc.

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

GROWTH / LEARNING: To have ongoing opportunities in your life for personal growth and development.

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

HEALTH / WELLNESS: To be actively involved in maintaining and enhancing your overall well-being.

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

INDEPENDENCE/AUTONOMY: To have freedom of thought and action in your personal and work life.

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

LEISURE / LIFESTYLE: To structure your life in a way which affords you enough leisure time and/or a preferred lifestyle.

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

PLEASURE: To enjoy life.

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

PRINCIPLES: To live life in harmony with a personally meaningful ethical code or set of principles.

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

RECOGNITION: To have what you do known and acknowledged by others.

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

SPIRITUALITY: To be connected with an integrating positive force in the universe (God, higher power, consciousness, nature etc.)

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

WORK: To engage in endeavors, paid or unpaid, which are satisfying to self and of benefit to society.

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12

Adopted from Tim Hatfield and Lee Gray’s Stress Management Websitehttp://www.winona.edu/stress/2YourBigPic.HTML

Now that you have finished your initial sort, here's a quick way to double-check that they truly reflect your priorities.

  • Look at the LAST item on your list, then pretend that we're going to steal it from you forever. Do the same in turn for all the other items on the list, working from the bottom up.
  • If your rearranged list is accurate for you at this point in time, then the general life issues of absolutely most importance to you are the ones you want to protect most strongly, and which therefore need to be at the top of your list.

For additional assistance with this or other emotional, behavioral, or life adjustment concerns please contact Gundersen Behavioral Health for an appointment with a therapist at (608) 775-7991 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 57991.

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