Often we may think that our values are very clear and that we are living up to them each day. However, taking an occasional inventory of our values and assessing how well we are living them out can be a beneficial exercise. One way to do this is to make a list of the different areas of your life and write them as column headings on a large piece of paper. 
An example of some areas are; marriage, children, extended family, work, friends, church, self-care, and leisure. You may have more areas, different ones or fewer ones. Each person's life is their own tapestry.  After identifying the different areas of your life, think about what values are important to you in each area. For example, under marriage some possible values are trust, honesty, and communication. There are many more values that could be included here. Whatever comes to mind, write it down. When you get to the next area, write down any new values that come to mind. You may think of some values that also fit in some of the other areas. For instance if you have children as an area of your life you may think of “spend time together" and then realize that this is important under marriage as well. Continue writing the values that come up under each area. Even though they might fit under all the areas, the important thing is to identify them. 

Looking at each separate area can help bring different values to mind. (for example, under the work area the value of excellence may be thought of}. Once you have finished filling in each column, you can circle each value that you would like to improve on. Maybe you recognize that time with those you love is important and that you aren't making it a priority. Any of the values that you don't feel are being fulfilled adequately in your life are the ones to circle. Maybe it's patience, listening better, or eating healthy. This then can be a basis for setting goals. A goal can be formulated for each circled value.  For example, if spending time with children is something that came up as an important value that needs improvement, the goal can be to come home earlier or engage with the children at  a certain time each day such as before or after dinner. 
When we choose to spend time in self-examination we are able to discover what we might be overlooking or taking for granted, or short-changing ourselves and others of what really matters to us. Looking at our values and setting goals can motivate and inspire us to make new choices and grow in he direction of our values and dreams.
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