How To Tell Good Values From Bad Ones And Improve Your Life

by Kate Bregovic,
Contributing Author, Conscious Reminder

Values are the priorities that define your life and by which you measure your personal success. This means that having skewed values might make your whole life seem like a meaningless failure. But having good ones will help you realize your full potential and, above all else, to become happy.

The problem with personal values is that most people don’t even think about them very much.

However, values, meaning the things that matter most to you and which you use to evaluate your personal success by, do quite literally determine whether you can ever be successful.

For example, if one of your values is to make more money than your high school rival, what will you do once you have achieve this? Will it make you happy? Will this mean that you’ve truly become a successful person? Will it make you feel accomplished about your life as a whole?

If on the other hand your value is family life and you strive to build a happy family in which everyone loves and supports each other, do you think you’ll feel like a happy and fulfilled person after achieving this?

As you can see, having personal values is important. But much like personal habits these can be good or bad. If you want to be happy, you should get rid of the bad ones in much the same way as you get rid of bad habits.

Having the right values is so important because it is what helps you to define the right goals.

Once you have recognized this, you’ll be able to set New Year’s resolutions that really matter and which you will actually follow through on. By the end of the year you’ll be able to see your progress instead of feeling like a failure who has done nothing to truly improve their life.

What is the difference between good and bad values?

Not all values are synonymous with goals, but all of them contribute to your happiness, or an absence thereof. The difference is determined by the “quality of your values”, and that is really easy to define because all good values are:

  • Constructive (they help to improve you or society)
  • Reality-based (they reflect reality so they actually matter in real life)
  • Controllable (they depend on you)

Bad values, by contrast, are destructive, abstract, and uncontrollable. Using the previous example, wishing to make more money than a rival is a bad value because how much the other person earns is beyond your control. Suppose they go on to win a billion in a lottery. In this case, you might never feel fulfilled because you’re measuring yourself against this standard. So, making twenty million won’t make you happy.

Honesty, on the other hand, is an excellent value because it is real, can be measured and is completely within your control. You can decide to be honest and stick with it, and feel accomplished when you do. This will benefit you directly because, when you are completely honest, people who become close to you are the ones who value you as you are.

And you can easily turn this value, honesty, into a measurable goal. For example, make a resolution to honestly speak your feelings in your relationships with friends and lovers. This might be a great way to get rid of toxic relationships.

What are examples of good values?

Good values are those that you can achieve internally and which make you, in essence, a good person. Examples of such values are:

  • Honesty
  • Charity
  • Creativity
  • Humility
  • Self-respect
  • Standing up for yourself and others

These values are not only controllable but also immediate. For example, you can experience creativity this very moment simply by focusing your mind on creative ideas. If you struggle to come up with any, you can look up how to develop creativity and start working on it immediately. With this single step you are already growing and improving, and developing your innate talents. From there you can move on to developing a plan for how to apply this value in your life and to turn it into a profession. This is how good values push you forward towards a fulfilled existence.

Many people have achieved success in their goals, but haven’t gotten any happier for it. This is because the values by which they define their lives are not good or focused upon their actual happiness. If you feel like you are wasting your life and that the things you do don’t bring you any closer to emotional or spiritual fulfillment, think over your values very carefully.


About the Author:  Kate Bregovic is a wife, mother, freelance writer and fitness enthusiast. She covers many topics – from business management trends to fitness regimes. When she’s not writing, she’s planning outdoor activities for her family, cooking or working out at the gym.  Follow her on Facebook!

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