A List of Values for How You Want to Live Your Life

If you do a Google search on the word “values” the following definition appears and it is very instructive for creating a list of values:

              “Value: a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life”

Values are not the same as goals, just as paths are not the same as destinations.  A value can be usefully thought of as how you want to live your life, whereas a goal can be thought of as what you want to achieve in life.

Two people may have the exact same goal of accumulating a lot of money. However, if one person holds honesty and integrity as their highest values, and the other does not value those, the first person will likely seek to make money through hard work, and the other may seek to make money through lying, cheating and stealing.  As this simple illustration shows, the “how” is certainly as important as the “what” when it comes to goal achievement. The first step in achieving your goals is to create a list of values that are most important to you.

The how is just as important as the what when it comes to goal achievement.

Are you Living in Accordance with your Values?

Brian Tracy, one of the world’s foremost experts on goals, says that the degree to which you live your life in accordance with your values is the degree to which you will be happy.  There is a lot of wisdom in that idea.

The emotion of guilt and the emotion of self-loathing arise when you take actions or pursue goals that are inconsistent with your values.  If your goals are inconsistent with your values, you will probably not be happy. Furthermore, you will be very unlikely to achieve those goals that are inconsistent with your values, because deep down you will know that this inconsistency exists and it will sabotage your efforts to reach the goal.

Thus, the necessary first step toward setting and achieving meaningful goals is to clarify what values are most important to you. A good place to start is to look at values in different categories of your life. The following is a list of important areas of life and some values to consider in each.  The list below is by no means exhaustive, it is really just a place to start the thought process.


Some Examples of Values in Life

Values for Relationships – Fidelity, Romance, Humor, Playfulness, Concern, Passion, Lovingness

Values for Money and Finances – Thrift, Stewardship, Hard Work, Calculated Risk, Mindfulness in Spending, Discipline, Accountability

Values for Health and Fitness – Appearance, Endurance, Excellence, Determination, Balance, Fortitude, Improvement, Performance, Fitness

Values for Work and Career – Performance, Dependability, Loyalty, Teamwork, Innovation, Creativity, Independence


Free Download:  Creating a List of Values


Obviously, not all of these values are equal. In addition, as the example shows, there is significant overlap among categories, and the same values can appear multiple times.

You may have an ultimate value like Patrick Henry so eloquently stared in the famous saying, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”.  But of course, you would not be very likely to meet someone who believed “Give Me Teamwork or Give Me Death”, although many people undoubtedly value teamwork.

Clarifying your values is the necessary pre-condition to setting personally meaningful goals.  If you have not clearly identified what you value in life, you cannot set goals that are in alignment with what you truly value, and you will have an extremely difficult time achieving any meaningful goals.


Download A List of Values to Identify Those You Hold Dear

Click the link below to download an Excel file list of over 300 values to consider organized for each of the above life categories.  Go through each of these values and put rank it from 1 to 3  on the tabs of the sheet.  This may seem daunting at first, but as you read each word, some of them will “grab you by the gut”.  The ones that do will start to reveal what you truly value most.  Once you have gone through the entire list, transfer the top 12 values that appear to be most important to you to final tab in the sheet.

Set the list aside and let it “marinate” for a few days and think about it as you go through your daily life.  After a few days, revisit the list, and boil it down to your top 5 values.  These values are what you hold most dear in life.  If you align your goals to support these values, you will be on your way to setting personally meaningful goals that will give you great joy once you achieve them.

Free Download – Creating a List of Values

The Foundation for Goal Achievement is dedicated to providing comprehensive resources for individuals from all walks of life to set and achieve meaningful goals. We award goal achievement scholarships twice a year for college students and offer speakers to energize your organization, business or school to achieve more. Explore our free downloads including our comprehensive list of values.

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