How to Honor Your Core Values

Feb 18, 2021 | Family, Health & Happiness, Time Management | 0 comments

We’ve previously discussed the importance of unearthing core values, particularly when it comes to setting goals. But how do we make time for these values in our daily lives? While it’s easy to sit and outline what your values are, in practice, those values can mean something else altogether.

If you’ve figured out what your core values are but are struggling to figure out ways to incorporate them into your daily life, we’ve got you covered.

A Quick Refresher on the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values 

For those who are unfamiliar with the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values, core values are a collection of beliefs that influence the way we think and act. Most people have a combination of core values which interact with one another in different ways depending on their level of importance. The Schwartz Theory identifies the following ten core values:

  1. Self-Direction: correlates with independence, creativity and exploration.
  2. Stimulation: craving the new. Ties into excitement, novelty and challenges.
  3. Hedonism: things that correlate to pleasure or gratification for oneself.
  4. Achievement: success through showing your competence.
  5. Power: tied to social status, prestige and control.
  6. Security: relates to ideas of safety, harmony and stability.
  7. Conformity: restraining oneself and complying with societal norms.
  8. Tradition: breeds goals around respect, commitment and older ideas.
  9. Benevolence: making sure you take care for or are concerned for the welfare of those you know.
  10. Universalism: a deep desire to understand, protect and promote the welfare of all.

Most people have a mix of the above core values, and many of them go together relatively seamlessly. Power and achievement pair nicely for instance, and the same goes for benevolence and universalism. You could also discover your values are a little more nuanced, and use this list as a starting point for discovery in conjunction with our Most people are happiest when their values align with what they do on a daily basis.

So how do we make sure our actions reflect and support our core values?

Take Stock of Your Values and Your Actions

Once you’ve identified your core values, list all of them out. Take a sheet of paper and put the name of each value at the top. Spend some time and write out what activities or goals you have that align with each of those values.

For example, let’s say that one of your core values is Security. You might consider listing things like “provide for your family to make sure they have financial security, having access to healthcare, and communicating with one another more effectively.”

If you’re having trouble identifying your values, try leveraging a tool like our core values deck or a journal.

Once you’ve finished writing them all out, consider each list carefully. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which of these values is most important to me? Does my list of actions reflect those values?
  • Are there some values I’ve invested more time in than others? Why or why not?
  • If I’m not supporting a value, why not? What things are getting in the way of those actions?

Once you figure out what’s getting in the way of your values, you can start implementing solutions to overcome those obstacles.

Time Block Your Values

If time is getting between you and your values, there are some straightforward things you can do to alleviate that problem.

For a number of values, if you find yourself scrambling to find a bit of free time to dedicate toward them, time blocking can be a huge help.

Time blocking is the practice of scheduling our days in a way that ensures our priorities are given the time and attention they deserve.

When we time block, we’re setting an appointment with ourselves. But more than that, we’re reserving our most productive windows of time for our most important work. When we enter into a time block, it’s important to give yourself permission to focus, and to gather the support of those who might distract you so you can leverage that time appropriately.

If your ONE thing is showing your family that you care, then you better make sure you’re blocking off time to do it! By creating time blocks around your values and the actions you can take to fulfill that need, you’ll always have time to dedicate to what matters most.

Have an Accountability Partner or a Mentor

Another great way to make sure you’re supporting your values is by finding an accountability partner. An accountability partner is important because it means there’s someone else who is equally invested in our success. It raises the stakes, and makes sure that if we slip up, someone is there to help us move forward.

Accountability partners also give us a place to bounce ideas and get feedback. On our own, these challenges may seem overwhelming. An outside voice can offer advice, give a new perspective, dish out some tough love, and provide insight that can help us break out of a rut.

Another best practice is finding a mentor. Maybe you’re driven by a desire for achievement, but you aren’t sure how to get ahead without compromising another value? Find a mentor who functions as a model, someone whose life and professional journey you’d want to emulate, and reach out to them.

And when it comes to picking an accountability partner or mentor, make sure that you take time to explain your values to them – and learn what their values are, as well. That way, you can both hold each other accountable with a clear understanding of what the other person is trying to achieve.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

One of the best things we can do when it comes to embodying our values is learning to harness the power of one word: No.

Saying “no” can be a bit scary, especially if you’re a people pleaser. But if you’re finding yourself struggling to support your values because other people keep asking for things that go against them, well…

Just say no.

Here at The ONE Thing, we’re fond of reminding people that everything doesn’t matter equally. This applies to values, too. If something you’re being asked to do requires you sacrifice a value that’s deeply important, reconsider that ask. Remember, when we say yes to something, that means we’re saying no to something else. Take control of what you’re saying “no” to, and use that “yes” for activities that support your personal values.


Are you looking for people who share your values? Join us on our One Thing Community Facebook page and let us know what values you’ve discovered!