What’s on Your Life’s Grocery List?

to done list

Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a list?  We all know what happens next… You spend extra time going through all the aisles.  Chocolate-covered banana snacks and a bag of weird wasabi-flavored chips end up in the cart.  

Wait, what was it that you needed to buy?  Of course, you forgot, and then your spouse “requests” you go back to the store.  

Oh, and the wasabi chips, yuck…

As we go through life, and face decisions about how we spend our time and money, , we could use a similar list to keep us on track.  That list is your Core Values. 

Core Values

Core Values are the beliefs and qualities that we strive to live by.  They are the things that we value most in our lives – such as family, work, community, philanthropy, status, flexibility, education and health.  Core Values are not possessions, activities or experiences… they are convictions about how you define yourself as a person, and they can have a most positive impact on your life.

So how do you determine your Core Values?  The following questions will help to get you thinking: 

What were your favorite activities as a child?  Do you miss any of these?

What brings energy to your life?

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

What qualities do the people you admire possess?  What are their Core Values?

What is the legacy you would like to leave?

Thinking about the questions you answered above, look at the list below and circle any of the words that you feel could be a Core Value.  Don’t think too hard – just circle.  If you don’t see one that captures your thinking, add it to the list and circle it.  

Spend some time looking at the words your circled, take a breath and narrow the list to 20 values… then narrow it to 10.  Take some time and now narrow it to 5.  OK, overachievers, you can have up to 10 if you need to! 

Core Values List 

  • Authenticity Achievement Adventure
  • Authority                    Autonomy                Balance
  • Beauty                        Boldness                   Compassion
  • Challenge                  Community             Competency
  • Competition              Contribution             Creativity
  • Curiosity                   Determination           Fairness
  • Faith                          Fame                          Family
  • Friendships               Flexibility                   Fun
  • Growth                     Happiness                  Health
  • Honesty                    Humor                        Influence
  • Inner Harmony       Justice                        Kindness
  • Knowledge               Leadership                 Learning
  • Love                         Loyalty                       Meaningful Work
  • Optimism                Peace                          Philanthropy
  • Pleasure                   Poise                           Power
  • Popularity                Recognition               Religion
  • Reputation               Respect                      Responsibility
  • Security                   Self-Respect               Service
  • Spirituality              Stability                      Success
  • Status                      Trustworthiness         Wealth

Matching Spending with your Core Values

Think about what you top five spending categories?  Is your spending in line with your Core Values?  I’m reminded of clients who valued flexibility, but were tied down by two homes, and the related maintenance, and taxes, etc.  They made the tough decision to downsize, but travel more, and don’t feel as much weight on their shoulders.

My dad’s quote

In making spending decisions, I’m reminded of a quote from my father:

 “You can have anything you want…not everything you want!”

new career choice

Matching Time with your Core Values

I tend to be a “yes” person. Now that I have learned to understand the consequences of always saying “yes,” what will I have to say “no” to as a result? Each hour is important. Budget your time wisely. 

How are you currently spending your time? Does your time align with your values? Do you enjoy all these activities?

Now that you have your Core Value list, write them down. Keep the list handy.   When faced with your decisions, ask yourself:  

Is this decision aligned with my Core Values?  

Am I spending time and money on activities that are aligned with my Core Values?

This guest post was authored by Shari Greco Reiches

Shari Greco Reiches  is a wealth manager and behavioral finance expert. Shari is Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Rappaport Reiches Capital Management, and the author of “Maximize Your Return on Life- Invest Your Time and Money in What You Value Most.”

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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