Skip to main content

Sort Out Your Values

What is most important to you in life? Do you really know? This simple exercise can help you discover your priorities.

Pick up a packet of 3 x 5 cards. For several days, write down everything in the entire world that you think you may want -- nice car, family with three children, a graduate degree, a trip to the islands, a home in the 'burbs, a second home in the mountains, excellent health and fitness, early retirement, a life filled with peace and serenity, a huge diamond ring. That's it - be as extravagant as you like.

Write down every single thing that comes to mind, one item on each card. Then, each day, go through the cards, keeping the ones that continue to grab you and say, "Yes, this is really what I want in my life!" Put aside those cards that seem to grow less important over time.

Continue this process every day, until you whittle your pile down to about five cards. Most likely for this time of your life, those are your most important values.

Will these values change over time? Of course, people change.

Repeat this exercise often to keep yourself focused on what is important to you. This will help you determine exactly how you want to spend your valuable resources of time, money and energy on a daily basis. Soon you will find that you are able to make decisions and choices that get you what you want... because you now know what you want most!

Visit to learn more about financial fitness.

test okmm logo


  • Email Support

  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900


Powered by XAP

OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.