A great activity I do with couples when they aren’t in duress but perhaps coming in for a tune-up because stress is throwing them off their game and they aren’t jiving like they know they can is the simple yet powerful “values activity”.

I have a list of 50 small cards with a single value typed on it like “education”, “fun”, “spirituality”, “health”, “achievement”, “arts” “meaningful work”, “reputation”, etc.

There are many sites to find these types of lists, but here is one for ease:

And one I created:

Once you’ve selected the values list you will use, give yourselves 3 minutes to select your top 25 together.

Then from that list of 25, give yourselves 2 minutes to find the top 10 values.

Then give yourselves 1 minute to select the top 3.

Then have a conversation about how your life is reflecting those values.

Let’s say it’s love, family and growth that are your top three values.

Take a round paper plate or a ceramic circle plate with several dry erase pens or vis-a-vis markers of different colors and fill in that circle with how much of your life is spent in reflecting those values. Use crayons if using a paper plate. You do not need to make a special craft store trip to do this activity!

Imagine the circle to be a day at first with 24 hours. Fill in 6-8 for sleep and then fill in time spent at work, transportation, food prep and food consumption, basic hygiene and then see if how you’re spending the rest of your day reflects the values you hold most dear.

Then take a picture of the day you just completed and now imagine the same circle is a week and do the same activity.

It’s quite a sobering, and perhaps even an inspiring, experience to take visual stock of how we actually spend our time, our minutes, our hours, our days, and then to also see if HOW we are spending them truly reflects our highest values!

What better time than now to take stock, evaluate and course correct if the values you hold most dear don’t translate into real life.

“Integrity- when our actions match our words.” ~Cindy Austin, MS, LPC