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Personal Values

Personal values are defined as those things that are most deeply important and meaningful to you. Personal values inform our priorities, way of living, and measure of success.

Why are values important? Understanding your values can help you:

Values tend to be stable over time, but they can also change depending on life experiences. The undergraduate and graduate years are a critical period for personal values, due to the developmental challenges experienced and important life decisions made during this time.

The Values Word Sort is designed to help you better understand which values are most important to you.

Download Values Word Sort (PowerPoint 68KB)

These 46 words (listed in random order) are designed to help you reflect on your personal values. Open the file above and drag the words to the corresponding sections. Use this criteria to rank each word:

You can only include 5 words in the Most Important section. These indicate your 5 most important personal values.

This is by no means an exhaustive list! Feel free to add your own words too. Once you’re done, we encourage you to print the page or take a screenshot, as a daily reminder to help you keep in line with your values.

After the exercise, think about the following topics:

This program was designed in 2013 by Santa Clara University Counseling & Psychological Services. To use any material from this site, you must seek permission from the Cowell Center Director.