In life and business, your core values should be the foundation and basis of the type of goals that you make. If they’re not, you probably won’t stick with the plan that you develop to reach the goals that you make. This is mostly because you won’t care about them enough to follow through, but let’s look at all the reasons. Recently I had to explore this in my own business journey and decide what my own core values were.

What Are Core Values?

Core values encompass the principles and standards of your character. They are stable and they are the reason why we believe what we do about life, business, and the world. It’s the lens through which we view ourselves and others. They guide our behavior, and help us identify what skills we should develop, goals we should make, and actions we should take to move forward in life. Core values are a set of fundamental beliefs, ideals or practices that inform how you conduct your life, both personally and professionally. Businesses can also have and maintain core values. These can help an organization determine how to allocate resources, make important decisions and grow.

Identifying Your Core Values

Write down what is important to you in life. Let go of what is right now and just think about your overarching reason for doing anything. For example, what is important to you? Is it being reliable? Is it loyalty? How about open-mindedness or justice for all? Understand that the core values have nothing to do with religion, but being religious might be one of your core values. So might not believing in a higher power. There are positive and negative core values, too – for example, you may have a core value that says people are powerless or that you don’t deserve to have good things. Some people find it easier to look up examples and pick words or values that they also identify with. Regardless of how you come about that list, writing them down makes it easier to review the list and see if you can group the values into categories. For example, you may have written down growth, learning and personal development. These values are all related and could be placed in one category. Another example is if you selected stability, reliability and punctuality. These values could all be grouped together.

Positive Versus Negative Core Values

There are personal values as well as corporate or business values too, so don’t think these only have to do with personal issues. For example, a business may decide that one of their core values is to commit to running a sustainable business. Perhaps they also have a core value of doing good, helping the less fortunate, or being excellent in all that they do. These are all important core values. The more you can focus on the positive core values, the better, but identifying potential roadblocks in negative core values you hold can help too. As you spent time writing down your core values, you might not have thought to include the potentially negative ones. But by identifying those, you’re giving yourself and opportunity to learn, change your own mind, and conquer any negative beliefs that you may hold. Those can get in the way of meeting your business goals sometimes, by giving you a bad reputation, or higher turnover, perhaps low productivity from yourself or your team.

Goal Setting and Core Values

To set achievable goals, first think about how a goal works with or against your core values. Therefore, it’s very important to identify core values that may be negative. You don’t really pick the core values you have; you just have them. But you can develop core values that are more positive if you make it a priority to rid yourself of negativity that may have been thrust on you by well-meaning parents or society.

Matching your core value and goals will ensure that you even want to achieve the goals that you set. It might mean that you change your business or life entirely. You can discover your core values by taking an online test. This will help you identify both positive and negative core values that drive you and/or block you from the success you want to achieve. Science has something interesting to say about values and successful goal-setting. According to recent research, value-based goals are not only more successful than those created to meet an extrinsic societal expectation, but they’re also healthier. We attach meaning and significance to pursuing value-based goals, which gives our lives a sense of purpose.

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