Simplify your life {Week 2: Define your Personal Values}

NOTE: If you are looking to simplify your life identifying your values is critical to the process. If you want to go further you can check out my ebook here “Simplify your life – from the inside out” which is currently on sale for $5 and covers the core topics we worked through in the 52 week challenge I hosted in 2012 (and have expanded on in the ebook plus workbook).


Well who could have predicted how many people would join in the 52 weeks to simplify your life challenge… I am so thrilled to have you all here and hope to connect and grow together over the coming year.

I posted my own answer to the week one challenge on Friday and have been enjoying reading many posts already shared in the last few days.  There is a linky open at the end of this post so please add your week one challenge post there and we can all visit in the coming days. I promise each week to slowly make my way through all the linked posts as time allows. Each linky will stay open for the week and close on Sunday nights. If you complete a challenge after the week it is posted you can always add your post to a future linky, just be clear what week’s challenge your post is for.

This week’s topic is values! When I visualised this challenge I saw it as a structure composed of building blocks – big blocks on the bottom serving as foundations and adding more blocks on over the year, almost creating a pyramid structure. Values are the big block at the bottom. To me, being clear on what you are about and what you stand for is the first big step to simplifying your life.

What happens when you are clear on what your values are?

  • You get in touch with what is important to you in life – this will lead to simplified goal setting (a few weeks from now)
  • You begin to see where your focus should be (we will draw on this when we get to setting priorities)
  • Once you commit to and “own” your values you can, more easily, figure out what to let go of in your life (this will play out as we do goal setting, time management, relationships and so much more!)
  • You can approach your life with intention (you will first choose things that further your goals that are in sync with your values rather than going along simply with others or based on others’ values)
  • You have a framework or guide to stand on as you decide how to parent your children and the lessons you want them to absorb

How do you go about defining your values?

I have been collecting these descriptive words for a while so have an extensive list of value words you can look at if you need prompting (click on the link later to get the printable)- you might want to first brainstorm what comes to you to see where your instincts lie before being influenced. Break the answers down though until you come up with value words. (so rather than “I love to read” take it deeper to the why? to get to the values)

Some prompting questions for you to think about (no need to reply directly on these questions unless you want to talk through your process in your post):

What do you like to do? – The things you find yourself  immersed in fully and happily.

Who and what inspires you? – Go deeper and think about why. What speaks to you when you think about those things and people?

What do you feel strongly about in life? – What things would you defend fully in an argument with other people?

When you close your eyes and visualise the person you want to be (free from anyone else’s influence) what stands out to you? How does that “future you” act? What do they believe in?

What are you dead set against in life? Identifying your anti-values can reveal something you are passionate about that you can define in positive value terms. (example: knowing you are 100% against war and conflict brings you to a possible value of  peaceful or pacifist or non-violence)

Printable list of value words

The process of defining your core values

After asking yourself these questions, your own questions (would love to see them in your post so others can be inspired for future weeks), and / or reviewing the list of value words (circle words that speak to you as you go through them):

1. Narrow the value words down to 10-15 that represent you and your vision.

2. Review and reflect on this list until you can narrow it down to 5 words and/or phrases for greater clarity.

3. To rank these values in order of importance to you look at the top 5 and ask yourself if you had to pick only one of these values to focus on and hold true which would it be? Write that down as #1. Look at the remaining 4 values and ask the question again with your answer becoming #2. Carry on until all five values have been prioritised.

This is the simplest way to get yourself to weigh up the words to rank them. Ranking becomes important when situations arise that cause two of your values to come into conflict. (more on that later).

What values are not

Goals – values give you the framework and the goals are the actions you set out to do in the future

Permanent – you may currently hold values that are based on how you were raised and never questioned before (some of these may be discarded now or over time) or declare values today that become irrelevant or out of sync with who you become (so may be dropped when you review your values in the future). You can like the sound of a value, adopt it and find that it really is not a core value of yours – that is okay.

Universal – There are hundreds of value words identified already. No two people will select the same handful of words to represent their core beliefs. You may find someone who shares your value of compassion, but they don’t share your value of health. As you watch them smoke cigarettes every day you might judge their lack of value of health, but that is their own choice. There are not right or wrong values* and this ties in with my “find your simple” – your values can be different than everyone you know and that is okay.

Another “should” – don’t feel you have to have certain values because you have been taught that is what “good” people believe in. This is where it is time to get to the core of who you are as an individual. The struggle many people feel is when they are working towards goals and a life that is based on others’ ideas and expectations. This is where you break free from that and define it for yourself.


Week 2 challenge: Go through the process and define your top 5 core values including ranking them. Share this information however you want next Monday (not on this post) – if you want please elaborate on your choices, talk about any difficulties in the process, any surprises or changes that came about. Blog it and link up, comment on next week’s post, share a journal entry or scrapbook layout, whatever method works for you…

If you have written about week one of 52 weeks to simplify your life please link up below.

Note: Any unrelated posts will be removed – sorry.

If the linky tool is not showing up please refresh the page and it should appear- modern technology is as imperfect as us humans!


Find your simple,



NOTE: If you are looking to simplify your life identifying your values is critical to the process. If you want to go further you can check out my ebook here “Simplify your life – from the inside out” which is currently on sale for $5 and covers the core topics we worked through in the 52 week challenge I hosted in 2012 (and have expanded on in the ebook plus workbook).


*I truly believe we need to be open minded and judgement free on the subject of values. As you read linked up posts next week please do so with an open mind and if necessary click away rather than leave any negative feedback.


Image credits: what will you do today

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