I just finished recording an episode of the Messy Middle Podcast with Maring Higa. Update: the podcast is up now –> find it here.

Our conversation got me thinking about values. She asked questions like how do you manage social comparison? How do you find self-worth? How do you find your course while in transition? For many of these questions, I thought the Values Card Sort exercise could be helpful.

Values Based Life

Another update! Maringa illustrated this beautiful depiction as an answer to our conversation and this post!

The “Personal Values Card Sort” was created by Miller, one of the founders of Motivational Interviewing, along with his colleagues (W.R. Miller, J. C’de Baca, D.B. Matthews, P.L. Wilbourne, University of New Mexico, 2001).

You can download a set of cards here:

Download the Personal Values Card Sort

Value Sort CardsHow to use the Values Sort Cards:

Print out the pdf and cut each box out. Then use the cards “Important to Me,” “Not Important to Me,” and “Very Important to Me” as column headings. Go through the rest of the cards and place them next to one of the importance cards, as appropriate. Remember, these are YOUR values, not anyone else’s. Next, look at the cards under “Very Important to Me.” Put them in order. Do you have a top three?

The next questions are harder. Are you living your life consistent with these values? Do you have a decision or dilemma that could be informed by your values? Are there changes needed to make in your life be consistent?

If you are stuck or overwhelmed, bringing this to therapy can help!