Discover Core Values to Motivate from Within + Printable!

May 21, 2018

We strengthen our physical core to build resilience to injuries, to protect your inner organs, and to improve balance and stability. In the same way, we can work our mental core to build resilience to the stormy winds of life, to protect our minds, and to improve balance and stability.

Photo by Annie Spratt

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You may be thinking,

Nico, but I struggle even to build my physical core – how can I possibly build my mental one? And wait – what does that even mean?

What is the “mental core”?

First of all, let’s clarify what I mean about our “mental cores”. Our mental core includes things I talk about all the time on this blog. Our self-validation skills, self-care activities, our recognition of our own thoughts and emotions, things we practice to be kind to ourselves, our radical self-acceptance – all of these are part of the mental core.

When we cultivate and strengthen our mental core, we become more resilient to distressing situations, thoughts, and emotions. We learn to stop harmful automatic thoughts in their tracks, and practice redirecting them with patience. In this way, we can nurture our inner therapist. He/she/they are in all of us, waiting to be called on and to gently respond to our often overpowering inner critics.

Some of you may have checked out some of my other posts above and seen the variety of ways you can practice embracing your imperfections and being kind to yourself. But, and hear me out here, there is some core-ception. It might be clear from the title of this post, but I’m talking about our core values.

What are core values?

Our core values are what kick in to help us when we tell ourselves, “What is the point of practicing all this? Why am I doing this in the first place?”. They are not limited to the world of mental health, either.

Core values spread across why you practice anything related to your health and wellness. Mental, physical, spiritual, social, occupational, environmental, and intellectual wellness – these are all dimensions of wellness that we should strive to maintain.

How come I should know my core values?

An awareness of your core values can be used to ground and recenter yourself around how come you are doing what you are doing, and how come you are working toward the goals that you currently are working toward.

Internal vs. external motivation

Building an awareness of your core values motivate you from a place of self-reflection, which is much more sustainable than finding external motivations that often are not effective for you, and worse – are perfectionistic in nature.

Imagine a life where you are continuously working and working and working and have no idea where you are going and how come you are doing it. You jump through hoops that are set in front of you, carried forward by an overwhelming sense that you should be doing this, because “everyone else is doing it”. Sure, you may succeed by others’ standards, but what about your own?

We are inundated nowadays with messages to “just keep going”, but this fosters the notion that if we pause and take time to self-reflect, we are somehow lagging behind. Lagging behind what? The generalized motivational quotes “keep on keeping on” and “keep chugging along” are tossed around like they’re magical confetti that will lead us to paradise.

Remember: this is your life. This is you, not them.

Can we take these hoops set by society, parents, peers, other people – and move them around according to what we envision for ourselves? What we want? What we place our importance on? Can we hop off from the conveyor belt, and start walking a path that we create?

This will require looking inward. Your external environment will shift. But you will always have yourself. You and your core values may change as you move through life, but what will remain constant is how you will strive to maintain self-awareness.

Find your core values with me!

Finding your core values may take some time and contemplation. If you are new to the practice of self-reflection and introspection, that’s okay! You are here now, and we’ll work through this together.

Optional: Grab my printable exercise!

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I created a printable for you to work through this exercise if you would like! Printables are subscriber-exclusive. You can sign up for email updates below and gain access to all past and future downloadable content for my posts free of charge.

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1. Think about what matters to you right now. Take a few minutes to sit in thought. If you would like, take notes about your thoughts.

Core Values page 1 - A bullet-point reflection on what matters to Nicole.

I wrote some notes. Yours do not have to be as abstract as I tend to reflect! Things that matter to you can be more simple or concrete. There is no right or wrong answer, so go for it!

Stationery used: FriXion Pilot Point Erasable Pen – 0.5 *note: only 0.7 is available at the moment

2. Take a gander at this list of core values, and add your own to the list from your own self-reflection.

Passion, Teaching, Accountability, Empowerment, Consistency, Wealth, Connections, Integrity, Happiness, Equality, Creativity, Knowledge, Simplicity, Hope, Communication, Health, Nature, Adventure, Personal Development, Career, Intimacy, Faith, Fun, Energy, Meaningful Interactions, Spontaneity, Family, Travel, Trust, Balance, Success, Loyalty, Inspiration, Love, Diversity, Affection, Stability, Community, Power, Order, Growth, Relationships, Peace, Respect, Lifelong Learning, Freedom, Justice, Culture, Change, Recognition, Comfort, Authenticity, Security

3. Highlight and list 10 core values that you currently find important. You do not have to put them in any particular order!

Core Values page 1 - Core values written across a page. 10 of Nicole's top core values are highlighted with a pink Zebra Mildliner.

I chose empowerment, integrity, health, meaningful interactions, family, balance, affection, community, growth, and authenticity!

Stationery used: Zebra Mildliner

4. Write next to your 10 core values what each of the values mean to you.

What does living with (a core value) mean to you?

Core Values page 2 - Ten boxes filled in with Nicole's top 10 core values, along with descriptions next to them.

We will be narrowing this list down soon but this is good to write down so that you can refer to it in the future!

Stationery used: FriXion Pilot Point Erasable Pen – 0.5 *note: only 0.7 is available at the moment

5. Pick your top three core values at this moment. Write them large on your paper (or REALLY expand that font size). Be bold and proud.

If there is an order of importance that makes sense to you, reflect this in how you write them. Maybe you don’t want to write them – maybe you want to get artsy with it! It’s up to you. Whatever you decide, make sure you bring them out into the world BIG!

Core Values page 3 - Authenticity, Growth, and Balance written large on a piece of paper. A Zebra Mildliner, Crayola SuperTip, Tombow Fudenosuke Pen, and Tombow Dual Brush Pen are to the right of the page.

My little explanation of this depiction:

I’m personally not used to writing or drawing big so this was challenging for me! My top 3 core values are authenticity, growth, and balance.

Balance is always the foundation, and since it is always changing, I wrote it roughly. Green seems like a lively and earthy colour and further drives home this idea that balance supports all of my life occupations

For me, growth derives from balance, so this is why I created an effect where the word is growing from balance. Growth might come from something well-established and practiced (like my calligraphy), but it requires going out of your comfort zone and expanding.

Authenticity involves being able to just be myself, wherever I am and whoever I am with. This is why I just did some standard calligraphy instead of trying to go for any particular design. I looped the ‘Y’ around the ‘T’ of growth because I want to pursue growth through authenticity.

Stationery used: Zebra Mildliner, Crayola SuperTips, Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip Brush Pen, Tombow Dual Brush Pen – Blush

6. Reflect on your top three core values. How might these translate into your everyday life? Write down your vision.

How can you strive to live through your core values? What are your indicators of success? What are indicators that you may need to recenter?

7. Keep your core values visible to you and close to you.

If you wrote or drew them out, maybe tape the page to your mirror, take a picture and save it as your phone background, or for those who value simplicity, maybe rewrite them onto a sticky note and keep it somewhere that can remind you everyday.

Work from within, and trust that your inner guide will lead you and motivate you.

Now that you have gained awareness of your core values, you can work from a place of connect with yourself. While you go about your everyday life, I hope you will embrace imperfections in your practice.

You will inevitably stray off the course of what your core values mean to you, and please know that this is okay. When you build your ability to recognize these moments, your core values will help you to recenter yourself.

Recognition is often the most difficult step of all cognitive work! So when you notice yourself working from a place that is not effective for you, you’ve already done yourself an amazing feat. Trust in yourself, and trust in the process. Be self-compassionate. You deserve it!

Always remember to BKTY (be kind to yourself),

Nicole (nicomochi)


P.S. I use a specialized journal to revisit and recenter around my core values each month! It’s called the “Goals Journal” by Kikki.K, and I highly recommend it if you would like to envision your dream life, and create goals that can work toward manifesting aspects of this dream life! Each month, there is a space to write your three core values so that you can work from your inner connection. You can check it out on Indigo!

Kikki.K Goals Journal, Life Essentials – Black & Gold by KIKKI.K

Kikki.K Goals Journal, Life Essentials - Black & Gold by KIKKI.K

Discover Your Core Values + Free Printable! | Awareness of one's own core values will help to build inner motivation separate from the often unreachable and perfectionistic external motivators. Go through my printable step by step with me as we look deep within for how we want to lead our lives! #bkty #mentalhealth #corevalues #printable #motivation #goals #bossbabe #bossgirl #selflove #selfcare #imperfection #selfdevelopment

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