30 Days to a Better Man Day 1: Define Your Core Values

by Brett & Kate McKay on May 31, 2009 · 94 comments

in 30 Days to a Better Man

When I look at photos of men from my grandfather’s and even my dad’s generation, I can see a sense of purpose in the eyes of those men. Yet when I look at men today, I often don’t sense that kind of steely focus. Instead, I see dudes who are just sort of drifting along whichever way life pulls them.

I’ve heard a lot of men my age complain of a sense of shiftless. They don’t have the drive, purpose, and ambition that our forbearers had, and they feel adrift.

And this isn’t some sort of cranky old man observation about “kids these days.” Several books and articles by sociologists back up these observations.

There are numerous factors why men are just sort of drifting by today. Changes in the economy and societal shifts in regards to gender are definitely two major factors. But, let’s be honest. There’s not much a man, let alone a man stuck in neutral, can do about these things. So, today we’re going to focus on something that we all have the power to control: our core values.

The Importance of Clearly Defining Your Core Values

Defining our values gives us purpose. When you don’t know or you haven’t clearly defined your values, you end up drifting along in life. Instead of basing your decisions on an internal compass, you make choices based on circumstances and social pressures. You end up trying to fulfill other people’s expectations instead of your own. And before you know it, life has passed you by and you haven’t even started to live. Trying to be someone else and living without core values is down right exhausting and leaves you feeling empty and shiftless. Conversely, living a life in line with your core values brings purpose, direction, happiness, and wholeness.

Defining our values prevents us from making bad choices. Perhaps you have a vague idea about what you value. But if you haven’t clearly defined your values, you can end up making choices that conflict with them. And when your actions conflict with your values, the result is unhappiness and frustration.

Defining our values gives us confidence.
I’ve noticed that when I take the time to really think and meditate upon what I value as a man and then write those things down, I’m more likely to have the courage and confidence to make choices based on those values. There’s something about actually writing down your values that makes you more committed to living them.

Defining our values makes life simpler. When you’re sure of your core values, decision making becomes much much simpler. When faced with a choice, you simply ask yourself: “Does this action align with my values?” If it does, you do it. If it doesn’t, you don’t. Instead of fretting over what’s the best thing do to, and standing shilly-shally in times of crisis, you simply let your internal compass guide you.

How to Discover Your Values

Your task for Day 1 of our 30 Days to a Better Man Project is to discover, clearly define, and write down your core values. Before we begin, let’s be clear that we’re not trying to define goals here. Goals are specific actions, like “becoming financially independent by age 30″ or “asking my girlfriend to marry me this June.” What we are looking for are values: the ideas that you esteem to be of great worth and that give structure to your life.

1. Get nice and relaxed. Go to a quiet room and sit in a big comfy chair (maybe even sit in your closet; something about small spaces helps you think), grab the fishing pole and spend an hour or two casting your line into the ol’ fishing hole, or take a walk on a nature trail or around your neighborhood. Just do whatever works for you.

2. Have the proper tools. Have a pen and paper handy so you can write down your values as they come to you. I don’t recommend using a computer to do this as it’s pretty easy to get distracted from the task at hand. Write on something you won’t accidentally throw away and that will last for many years to come.

3. Ask yourself this question: “What’s truly important to me as man?”
Once you’re nice and relaxed, simply ask yourself what’s truly important to you. Think about those moments in your life when you felt completely whole and fulfilled as a man. Think about the times when you’ve been the happiest. If nothing comes to you at first, don’t worry. Just keep thinking.

4. Write down whatever comes to you. When you have a moment of insight about what’s important to you, write it down. Don’t self-censor yourself. Be completely honest during this process. No one else is going to see this, so don’t list the values that you think “should” be on your list. If it comes to you, write it. You’ll be able to go back and edit the list in the next step. For now, just do a total brain dump.

Also, don’t worry about prioritizing them yet. We’ll do that later. Our goal right now is to just get down whatever comes to you.

5. If you have more than five values, eliminate some. Think hard about what you truly value in life. Put a star by the values you’re sure about. Then take the ones that you feel are important, but aren’t sure if they’re top 5 material, and put them in pairs. Think about two of those values side by side, and ask yourself which of the two is more important. Then eliminate the other. Keep pitting the survivors against each other until you’re down to 5. If some of the values you listed are just two words describing the same idea. Combine them.

6. Prioritize. Once you whittle your list to five core values, prioritize them in order from most important to least important. Ideally, your core values compliment each other, but there might be times when two or more conflict. When that happens, which value will trump? If you know this before that choice presents itself, you’ll know how to proceed. And even if your values conflict in the future, look for creative ways to combine them. For example, family might be your top priority, but so is volunteering. When you have the choice of spending time with your kids or signing up to help at a charity event, do both by bringing the kiddos along with you.

If you’re having trouble getting started, I’ve provided a list of values that you might consider. The list isn’t exhaustive; there are literally hundreds of values you could have.

Financial Security
Peace of mind

Remember, these posts aren’t for passive entertainment! The 30 Days to a Better Man Project is about action! You have 24 hours to complete this task. Once you’ve done it, check in with the DBM accountability group to let everyone know. This is the first day of you journey to becoming a better man! Good luck!

{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

1 notorious May 31, 2009 at 7:27 pm

“Several books and articles by sociologists back up these observations.”

When you make a claim like this, please, please please cite your sources!!

Not only will it lend credibility to your argument and open the option for your readers to educate themselves to a deeper level, but it also keeps other readers (like me) from ignoring your claims altogether on the basis that your claims are broad and unsubstantiated.

2 Dave May 31, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Hopefully this will motivate me to get some goals in my life finally! I know what you mean – a sense of meandering.

I do not think men of our parents and grandparents generation had all the answers. I think looking back in hindsight gives a perspective that they knew what they were doing the whole time, when that was not necessarily the case!

3 Brett May 31, 2009 at 7:43 pm


Here you go:


-Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men by Michael Kimmel
-The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre
-Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity by Professor Gary Cross

4 antonio June 1, 2009 at 2:11 am
5 Desi Quintans June 1, 2009 at 2:57 am

That’s like saying every top-ten list is a copy of another.

6 Sanosuke June 1, 2009 at 3:41 am

It does not matter if the idea got from somewhere else, the fact is if it works, moreover, if we will work for it. It’s a good idea to get skills improved step by step, not all at once. Besides, I think it is similar to recollections at the monasteries – one month in a year dedicated to overthink myself and get back to what I really am. I got very interesting and motivating answers after doing this day exercise. Good luck for everyone, following this project in life!

7 Jenks June 1, 2009 at 3:52 am

There have been so many times I’ve set myself goals without having accountability to anyone except myself. Kinda weird that that isn’t enough.
I’m in…

8 Alex Shalman June 1, 2009 at 4:05 am

@Antonio – I can’t imagine this well be an exact replica of Trents list. Instead, this will reach into the AoM archives, and pull up a list of things that make you a man. =)

Anyway, I think any such list has to start with you defining what you’re all about, right?

I guess we’ll see… ;)

9 Bruce Wise June 1, 2009 at 4:37 am

Some of these initial comments really crack me up. What difference does it make where the list came from, or how authentic it is. Who really cares if you’ve seen it (or something like it) before?

10 Erik June 1, 2009 at 4:52 am

This is a great exercise and a good place to begin. I had forgotten I once did this when I was at a low point in life (broke, homeless, and pretty much alone/friendless in a strange city) and determining my values kept me directed and helped me set basic goals for the near future that got me living again. I should make one suggestion: if you find remembering when you were at your best difficult, or does not quickly reveal a worthy value, try visualizing what you would want to hear your friends and family say about you at your own funeral. Knowing what kind of man you want to end up being by hearing what they say about you will point to where you truly believe you should focus your energy. For the sake of example, my values in order of importance were: God, Country, Family/True Friends, Profession, Self Development. Thank you for reminding me of this, and keep fighting the good fight!

11 Brett McKay June 1, 2009 at 4:54 am

@ antonio- Yes, The Simple Dollar was part of my inspiration for this post, but so were a ton of other people and websites, including:

Stephen Covey
Debra Moorehead
Anthony Robins
Brian Tracy

And they all say pretty much the same thing that Trent and I said. Why? Determining your values is a pretty basic. It’s usually the first thing you read in a self help book.

Of course, I tried to take this idea and explain why it’s particularly important to men.

12 Erik June 1, 2009 at 5:02 am

I should also mention that some of the values listed above are technically virtues, and if you have trouble paring down the list to five things, you might try having your values be areas of your life to focus your energies toward in prioritized order because a value often necessitates a virtue. For example, in my last comment I said my values were God, Country, Family/True Friends, Profession, Self Development. Devotion to God/Faith requires me (if I am to practice my faith maturely) to be honest, courageous, generous, kind, hopeful, faithful, forgiving, and spiritual. Devotion to Family and True Friends requires integrity, fun, adventure, etc. The virtues that each value suggests would be a more detailed definition of what the value requires of the man. This should help shorten the list to true values.

13 Michael June 1, 2009 at 5:15 am


I don’t understand the haters. It was good to see the sources but I understand that a blog post is not a master’s thesis.

This was an excellent post and one of the most concise yet informative versions of this exercise that I’ve seen.

I don’t know why people can’t just be grateful someone is putting themselves out there to help others be the men they ought to be. I, for one, appreciate it.

My son (age 11) and I regularly read your posts together and I often print them out for him to read later. He likes to read them multiple times and jot down his own thoughts. He also brings them to school to share with his friends.

Thanks for all your hard work.

14 Ammon June 1, 2009 at 5:57 am

@Brett – I was definitely picking up hints of Covey in this post, except he would call this exercise writing your “Mission Statement.” They’ve got a nifty, online Mission Statement generator at http://www.franklincovey.com/msb/

15 Harry June 1, 2009 at 9:24 am

Thanks, it’s a great post.

You may want to check out http://www.GoalsOnTrack.com, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and has time tracking. It’s clear, focused, easy to navigate, worth a try.

16 Aaron June 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Great article. I believe core values are important to have and to live by. It can really define yourself and the world around you. In fact, all of the Armed Services have a set of core values that defines that branch, and by which all members can look to in order to model behavior. In the Air Force, the branch I serve under, it is: Integrity, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do. When I went to officer school, these values really made sense to me and I really practice them everyday. It made a difference in my life.

When we discussed how these core values came about, one thing I remember is that the core values were intentionally kept short and to the point because a list too long or too complicated makes it hard to internalize and follow. Just some words of advice.

17 Synthetic Friday June 1, 2009 at 6:49 pm

@Ammon – A mission statement generator seems against the point somehow.

18 Ammon June 2, 2009 at 8:16 pm

@Synthetic Friday – It doesn’t do the work for you. You still have to ponder who you are, what your values are, what matters most, etc. It’s just a tool to take that information (your input) and turn it into a living document that you can use and adapt.

19 cordell June 4, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Hey Ive completed Task 1 as part of the 30 Day program…..however for some reason I can not access the DBM Accountability Group?

20 Finnian June 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I can’t help but think that the values of some of the men leaving comments here include “nitpicking,” “envy,” and “dullness.” Maybe those traits should be added to the list to broaden the options?

21 Mark Marshall August 11, 2009 at 10:04 am

A delightful way to kick off a self improvement campaign. I think Benjamin Franklin gave us a good start to his own self improvement plan with his 13 virtues. I am belatedly looking forward to my next 30 days.

22 Bionicjoe September 28, 2009 at 2:25 am

Coming in way late on this, but I’m starting the 30 days today.
My 5 values.
Education – Always be educating yourself, not just formal degrees & diplomas.
Love Spouse & Family – Can’t be a happy family without a loving couple at the core.
Be Financially Stable – Debt Free is key
Trustworthy – Do the right thing at all times. Make sure to deliver on promises.
Seek Adventure – Travel & find new places to go locally.

23 Tman October 16, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Thanks for this Day 1 exercise. I just joined AoM and am impressed with the quality I find here- quickly becoming a fan. I bought the 30day ebook and look forward to working through it.
The Values exercise was beneficial, as it has been awhile since I went through the exercise. I pulled some old books down and was looking through Covey’s First Things First where he says to base our compass not on values but the underlying principles. We generated a family mission statement 2 years ago, when the boys were younger:
Our Family: Loves God
–Follows God’s Word
–Puts others ahead of ourselves
–Helps and enjoys each other
–Is Patient
–Uses encouraging words
–Has fun & likes jokes
–Forgives & says “sorry”

It is time to dust this off, see how we’ve been doing and what needs attention. This will be a great discussion for dad and his two teenagers tonight (of course we’ll let mom join in too). Keep up the good work.

24 Earl November 21, 2009 at 7:46 am

Thank you for publishing this. I do not agree with the negative feedback that’s been posted. I appreciate the time and effort put into this. I have completed the process and have determined my 5 core values to be in order, Integrity, Love and companionship, Creativity, Independence, and Strength. While I have always had the nebulous concepts in my mind and lived frequently by them, this exercise was good to define them and remind me that I need to stay the course.

25 Nate November 30, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Faith, Family, Integrity, Financial Independence, and Knowledge. It was difficult to cut my brain dump from 20 to 15. It was hard to eliminate another 5. It was really hard to go from ten to five. I thought about what each one ultimately meant and was able to shift some of my final ten into my final five. For example I scratched off honesty figuring that honesty is part of integrity. I eliminated marriage and put it under the umbrella of family. A good first day.

26 Trent December 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm

I’m starting today,
Being grateful, being compassionate, my family, having integrity, and having a good work ethic, wish me luck guys, its going to be an adventurous next 29 days.

27 VL January 7, 2010 at 6:51 am

I’ve started today.
As Zig Ziglar said: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”.
Never realized how difficult this first exercise might be.

28 Stephen February 11, 2010 at 6:25 am

I think this article needs to have the comments shut off. I wish no ill words against those who have comments against it, but this article isn’t about opinion.

Becoming a Gentleman and a true man is not an easy task, but it is made even more difficult because others will hate you for it. They will scream and cry that you Judge them, and say that you believe yourself to be high and mighty, when truly you are simply causing them to judge themselves. You will be a shreiking example of what they are not, and it gnaws on them, forcing them to take a look at themselves from a more honest perspective.

They say it is easier to bring a better man to your level then to rise to his. The world would be easier if no one was better then you, but it would not be a better world. We all look for the easy route, falsly accepting over and over that it will be the best, but it never is. A quote I like to force myself to repeat, the author of which I don’t recall, “What is Easy, is most often Not what is Right.”

As a Combat Veteran, I sadly admit I need this as much as any of you. Life hands you noble challenges, and when you fail them, you slowely loose your manhood trying to cover each one up. It’s not easy to admit your failiings to yourself by attempting something like this. It’s much easier to read this and find the faults with it, rather then find your own faults in trying it. What do we have to loose though? Better to attept a great thing and fail, then sit idle in our own Mediocrity. Even if I fail to become a “Gentleman”, I’d like to be remembered for attempting it relentlessly to my dying day. Like the article states, who cares what the world thinks… This is between you and God.

29 Brian May 15, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I see that not many men on here do not consider reason a virtue that they hold, which is not surprising considering the state of the world.
My Virtues:
1) Reason (as opposed to faith & unreason)
2) Selfishness (rational self interest, egoism, as opposed to self-sacrifice & altruism)
3) Ambition (as opposed to shiftlessness as mentioned)
4) Financial Security (as opposed to frivolous spending & borrowing)
5) Education (as opposed to ignorance)
6) Independence (as opposed to group think and collectivism)
7) Confidence (as opposed to either arrogance or self doubt)
8) Honesty (as opposed to evasion)
9) Long range living (as opposed to living at the whim of the moment)
10) Integrity (living life consistently and without guilt or contradictions)

30 James May 15, 2010 at 9:42 pm


31 David June 26, 2010 at 1:14 pm

1. Honour: I make the honourable move when making decisions and taking actions in my life. I honour my commitments, I honour my word.
2. I bring value: I bring value to people in my life. I ensure that the people I interact with are better off for having known me.
3. Learning: I constantly strive to learn and grow as a person
4. Health: I strive to keep a healthy body and a healthy mind. With this, I can move forward in life effectively.
5. Quality: Whatever I do, I strive to get it done right. No half-measures. Some things are works-in-progress, but I strive for everything I do or create to ultimately end up quality.

32 Rosenfall August 16, 2010 at 5:07 am

I value: 1:Intellect
5:Purity of body and mind

33 Unknown September 30, 2012 at 12:36 am

Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues. Without truthfulness progress and success, in all the worlds of God, are impossible for any soul. When this holy attribute is established in man, all the divine qualities will also be acquired. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, ‘The Advent of Divine Justice’, p. 26)

peace out!

34 Zhenya Delate October 11, 2012 at 4:57 am

@notorious – I disagree sources have to be cited every time, like even in brilliant, well thought out, focused blog articles. I mean, the writer is taking the time to write a well-thought out article, I for one, think it’s enough. I don’t think he broke some Divine Rule of Blogging by not citing. This isn’t some college paper, it’s a piece to help Men become better Men. Simple and direct in purpose with a great, desrcript activity. Yay. I mean, doesn’t the tone of writing resonate with you as you read it? That’s a great check for credibility, I think. Also, you can find almost anything in Google or Amazon if you type in a couple of words. Anyway he did post the books, and it did enrich the post.

35 Jon Snow October 11, 2012 at 10:02 am

What’s the point of finding these values? I feel like this makes me high and mighty and does not actually motivate me to do anything.

Take wisdom for example. “I wish to be wise.” What does this take? How do we know what it takes to have these values?

36 Alex October 12, 2012 at 11:04 am

If your looking for more details on personal core values check out http://corevaluesinstitute.ca There are a couple videos on the blog that show the relevance to personal values when they are done right.

37 Dove October 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm

My values
knowledge of God

38 Jeremy Remele October 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

This is top notch! Day 1 starts today.

39 Matt Wright October 30, 2012 at 9:54 am

I’m a couple years late, but not to late to be a better man. So, here I go with day 1

1) Family: through open communication, trust, support, empathy, but not submissiveness
2) Health: By taking care of my body through proper and timely eating, a good sleep and regular exercise of my body and mind
3) Dependability: Keeping promises, showing up on time, doing tasks to the best of my ability and following through
4) Growth: By trying new things, learning new skills, challenging myself and pushing my limits
5) Stewardship: Being of value to my community, a leader, a mentor and an aid to others without thought of personal gain.

40 Bob November 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Here’s mine:

41 Daniel December 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm

- Place Family first, before all things. Protect family members from harm of any kind. Never cause harm to family. Teach and learn from family members. Always be honest with family and don’t fear to speak freely.

- Live as you would like to live. Life is your own to make of it as you will. Do not impose burden or harm upon others, while doing so. Do not fear to be the individual that you truly are. Laws of man do not supercede those of nature.

- Through learning of the past and the present we can shape our futures. Just as we have learned to tie our shoes we can learn to speak, to read, and to write. Gaining knowledge and passing it on, we ensure that our lineage will endure and build upon our history.

- Discipline of oneself is controlling the flow of personal progress. Remaining strong in the resolve to abstain from negative energy and influence. To endure the hardships of the present course, knowing the destination will have been worth the voyage.

42 Winston December 27, 2012 at 2:38 am

Mine would be:

43 Felie December 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Family: be there dependably for these people because they are the ones who will be there for you in any situation whether good or bad.
Integrity: The adherence to sound moral principles. It embodies the very popular saying do on to other what you will have them do on to you.
spirituality and Godliness: God’s word is the foundation for all moral principles. Thus being spiritual can help you live a morally sound life.
Hardworking: diligently and pridefully accomplishing anything that you set your mind to do.
Confidence: self-belief.

44 Malcolm January 2, 2013 at 11:27 pm

My five core values:

45 Juan January 13, 2013 at 4:22 am

This challenge is exactly what I needed.

1)Family-Love them, protect them, and enjoy them

2)Health-Your body is a temple

3)Growth-Picture the best version of yourself and embody it

4)Independence-Be your own person

5)Integrity-Live a life of conviction

46 Jim Newell January 21, 2013 at 8:20 am

Unable to see http://www.artofmanliness.com
Any suggestions?
Am trying in men’s ministry to agree on 5 essential core values before defining mission and strategy….again any suggestion? Thanks!

47 Joe January 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm

I first stumbled upon AoM this time last year and I have been reading through the archives going back to the very beginning. I am going to accept this “30-days to a better man” challenge effective today.

48 Joe January 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Difficult to narrow down a list of 20+… settled on these as the most important values to live by:
- Family
- Health
- Wisdom
- Self-Reliance
- Kindness

49 Rick February 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

Interesting article. I found this because I researched an article Harvard wrote that says that reaffirming your core values on a regular basis creates a more effective and productive person.


50 Alexander Connell February 14, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Bit late to the party but I only joined the site yesterday.

OK, here are my Core 5.

Never Stop Learning:
Always maintain a spirit of adventure, enthusiasm and curiosity. Try to learn something from every experience, even if it’s only “Don’t do THAT again.”

Treat everyone with respect, unless they give you a reason not to

Don’t take life too seriously. Always retain a sense of playfulness.

Without it you have nothing. Stay active and spend as much time as possible in the fresh air

I have been fortunate in many ways. Other people have not. It’s foolish to think that makes them lesser than me.

On to shine my shoes now.

51 Scott B. February 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Discovered this website way too late, but it is a favorite of mine now. There are some really helpful, inspirational articles on here. Would have to say my 5 core values are:
1. Love my wife and family
2. Self-development (encompasses education/knowledge, growth, and health)
3. Integrity
4. Happiness (includes fun and adventure)
5. Assertiveness

52 Hector March 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm

well I came here late but I love this website and as of tomorrow I am going to start the 30 days I am ready to make better of my self

53 Dave March 25, 2013 at 12:09 am

While I feel that I have achieved several “target” goals in my life, they tended to be erratic and nonsensically placed. Almost seem to be in disconnect with each other, and leave a feeling of a fractured existence. I still feel I meander in this life to some extent. This seems like a good starting point!

54 Newman April 3, 2013 at 8:44 am

Notorious if you don’t want to listen to what this writer has to say then why are you even reading this article? A citation would help but this statement is common knowledge where as kids these days usto be an excuse for a petty lack of discipline today it defines the lack of discipline

55 Brian May 1, 2013 at 5:12 am

I would say my five core values are:
Relationship with Christ

56 MarcTyas t'Aycn May 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Its late, never I stop learning … Still going strong…… – I love this website, too. My five core values are:

Common humanity – includes Family and friends first
Openness to the world – with adventure and search for happiness
Integrity wisdom – find myself in the cores before
Health – respect the body and love to care him
Order discipline – easy the life, goodbye to rubbish

Marc from Germany

57 Serafin May 6, 2013 at 1:56 pm

And if you look down deep at your values and don’t like what you see?

58 Johna May 22, 2013 at 4:21 am

Follow impulses
Listening/ Straight talking
Growth/ Discomfort

Impulses might seem like a strange thing to value but its how i get stuff done or stop myself from eating lots of chocolate buiscuits.

59 Tracy Howell May 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm

1. Financial Security
2. Family
3. Friends
4. Fun
5. Fulfillment

60 Jack June 6, 2013 at 7:13 am

Mine are:
1) Fulfillment
2) Honesty
3) Friends
4) Independence
5) Confidence
Now that I look at the above post (just read it) we have a few in common :P

61 Edelwulf June 11, 2013 at 12:34 am

I did this, even though I felt that thee challenge would offer me little (many of the things, if not most I have already done) but after a self-slaughter session, running up and down hills and jumping streams in the sun I came up with this list.

-My tribe, the English and to a lesser extent all Europeans. I feel my blood ties strongly.

-My perseverence, my will to see endeavours through, especially in exercise but also in academic pursuits.

-My honour, a value I think all Men should have. This list is if anything a code of honour so remember that.

-Discipline, if you must do something, do it. Run in the morning, refrain from eating rubbish, train with swords and spear throwing, carry a full Bergen across hilltops and so on.

-Fidelity, be true to your oaths and true to your kin. If of a warrior band, be true to them to the end, even a painful one. Never betray your principles or the people you love and who trust you.

62 Nick Z June 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm


63 Bret July 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Thanks pertaining to providing these types of terrific content material.

64 mary July 22, 2013 at 4:33 am

Love Spouse & Family

65 Les July 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Wow such a invaluable web-site.

66 Ernest Jaramillo August 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Well today I start a process that I hope to complete and that I allow it to work in my life on becoming a better man.
1: Self-Reliance
2: Family
3: control
4: Good father
5: happiness

I struggle with these values. I want these to become my core values that my life is lead by, so that my children and family and friends look at me with what I know I can be!

67 Ben Gygax August 10, 2013 at 9:32 am

I started this yesterday. I’ve been in a sort of slump recently, and this is just what I need to snap out of if.

1. God and His Word: Live my life in a way that honors God and is according to Biblical prinicples.

2. Honor: Live my life in a way that I will have no regrets due to my own misconduct. Be inescapably honest.

3. Strength: Live my life such that I will be ready for whatever comes my way spiritually, emotional, or physically.

4. Faithfulness: Live my life in a way as to not violate these core values, nor and of the trusts placed in me. Keep myself for my wife only till the day I die.

68 Virgil III August 12, 2013 at 12:37 am

I’m coming in way late, but thankfully not too late. Life has taken yet another turn for the worst and I feel stumbling upon this article may have come at just the right time. I’m stoked to be joining you gentlemen!

Core Values

-Strength of body and mind
-Honor in action
-Rationality of thought
-Family and companionship
-Justice and balance

To the shoe shiner!

69 Mark August 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

My core values are:
-Peace of mind
-Self development

70 Kent August 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm


These are my navy core values and everytime i speak them in our creed i feel a sense of pride and ambition as if every decision from that point on will be made with Purpose and integrity. I shall not fail. My life will be a success if i stick to my values and make good decisions based on such.

71 Reinvention August 27, 2013 at 11:20 pm

1) Faith (Follow Christ)
Love God with all of my strength and love others as I love myself

2) Family/Friends
This would include my Church family, immediate family, extended family, and close friends

3) Integrity/Honesty
A man needs to live up to his word and do what is right, even if no one is looking

4) Courage/Strength
Stand up for what is right, even in the midst of adversity

5) Confidence
To find confidence in Christ and in myself

72 Hesham September 9, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Independence / Freedom
Faith / Divine Purpose

Not exactly what I expected but not far. These results are different from a similar practice I did a few years ago..

Seems I matured !! Of course, what did I think :)

73 Nic Potter September 15, 2013 at 10:55 am

I have been reading this and thinking about it for 2 days now and am yet to come up with a value that I am actually that fussed about and certainly haven’t found any that I would say are core to the way I live.

74 Steve September 16, 2013 at 8:10 pm

1) Being a great artist: this includes the fields of writing and humor

2) Self-discipline: waking up early, limiting my time on facebook and other sites, daily writing, daily reading, less masturbating, and consistently working out

3) The forging and maintenance of fantastic relationships

4) Being supremely confident in everything I do

5) Sex and women: because there are just too many beautiful women in the world and I want to fu** them all

75 Espen September 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm

An important endeavor, and a nice post describing it. Although I like the idea of writing down your values on paper, I decided to also make the prioritized value list into one of those oh-so-popular word clouds (there are various online tools for that), and use the image for my desktop background. To be fair, I spend more time staring at that than at a piece of paper these days.

76 Nic Potter October 1, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Writing again, I have spent a week thinking on this and values I hsve come up with for myself in order are;

Active, not being lazy.
Self Development, grow and learn.
Happiness, pursue happiness and hsve courage to do so.
Financial Security, sble to provide for family.
Selflessness, life is abiut helping others and improving the world.

To help with my list I thought of Virtues I value and believe in.

77 bharat October 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm


78 Jeff October 24, 2013 at 9:14 pm

1. Familial Love – Placing spouse and children before all else.
2. Honor – Strict adherence to my ethical principles
3. Financial Security – This ensures stability and protection for all of life’s bumps
4. Creativity – Not allowing mental stagnation and bringing new things to the world.
5. Education – Believing in ideas, rather than dogma.

79 Earl again! October 26, 2013 at 8:01 am

I did this exercise back in 2009 and fast forward to almost 4 years later. I had forgotten that I had actually done and posted the exercise in the comments section. It’s funny how little things have changed even though I think when I wrote that first post, I was at a higher point in my life than I am now even though I was having health problems then. Back then in order 1 – Integrity, 2 – Love and companionship, 3 – Creativity, 4 – Independence, 5 – Strength. Doing the exercise this morning and spending a great deal of time thinking them over for me they are 1 – Integrity, 2 – Love, 3 – Intelligence, 4 – Excellence, 5 – Imagination. Integrity is still #1, Love is #2, I would use creativity and imagination interchangeably but it’s dropped a couple of spots while Intelligence and Excellence replace Independence and Strength. I was having some pretty nasty health issues in 2009 and they were finally resolved last year, but my work situation has changed that changing dynamic is affecting me greatly. I’ve been put in a role that conflicts with my values and it’s bothering me greatly. Also, when you have something missing you value you it more. I’m married but it’s rocky…has been for years. Not conflict but I have needs that have gone unfulfilled for years and haven’t been able to face the reality of perhaps its time to move on…love cannot be a one way street.

80 Geoffrey November 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I appreciate the content on your websites. Thank you so much!

81 Joe November 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm

This might sound stupid, but how to differentiate between the core values that you have with the core values that you wish to have?? @_@

82 Taras November 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Body – maintain a good healthy lifestyle through healthy diet and exercise in order to prevent disease and problems.

Mind – Continuously educate my curiosity by exploring, travel, and studying both broadly and deeply into my interests.

Heart – Treat all with respect and love others more than I do myself. By provide support to those closest to me, blood or not, volunteering my resources to those less fortunate.

Spirit – Love myself by practicing self acceptance and staying true to my heart and needs.

Honor – Strict adherence to my ethical principles. Doing what’s right. (Thanks to Jeff in 78 for putting it nicely)

83 Marc January 3, 2014 at 7:16 pm


84 Edythe January 10, 2014 at 10:28 am

To lose stomach fat, the dieter needs to eat less food, eat healthier food and do full body strategic workouts.
It is such an excellent way of overcoming extreme food addiction and you can be sure to receive lesser mood swings. A fun and delicious drink; this soy milk smoothie provides the health benefits of soy with the great flavor of a banana split.

85 Marc January 20, 2014 at 11:27 am

Like other guys here, I managed to eliminate some by “combining” them with others, or thinking about the broader application of what the words meant. Eventually I settled on:

Chosen Family – though we can’t chose our blood family, we can chose who to treat as family; to foster, nurture, and support those relationships so that they are healthy and loving; to create a circle of friends

Character – to live by my own code of ethics; to be a person who “had character”; to support my ideals and individuality

Self-reliance – to continually grow and learn new skills; to be able to respond healthily to new challenges; to be capable

Serenity – to be strong means to be serene; to accept anxiety and move past it; to treat the world with loving kindness

Self-expression – to be free to express myself in style, dress, and speech; to be creative; to foster creativity

86 Mittie January 23, 2014 at 11:10 pm

Really revealing, look forwards to coming back again.

87 Rafael Antonio January 29, 2014 at 11:25 am

Hello everyone, today I decided to start my 30 days to a better man. I will attempt to do all with the exception of dating a woman. The main reason is because I just got out of a bad relationship and need some time away from women, some might say to date because this helps, but she was the women I wanted to marry….. Anyways, here it goes:
1) Progress: the ability to achieve new and more challenge goals.
2) Self-reliance: the ability to self sooth and count on yourself at all times, to do things on your own.
3) Balance: the ability to have everything well put together, where you to what you have to do without sacrificing what you want to do.
4) Wisdom: the ability to know new things and learn from, thus not repeating the same mistake twice (fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me).
5) Creativity: the ability to think outside the box and find unorthodox answers to problems. The ability to use your mind, passion and desire.

88 Doug January 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

If anyone is interested, I wrote a simple web tool a number of years ago to help with eliciting and ranking values: http://www.value-test.com/


== Doug

89 Daniel February 23, 2014 at 1:57 am

I see theres a few posts from this year so that makes me a bit more comfortable starting

1. Love : I thought a lot about family and friends and my partner as well as my own well being and needs and eventually I came to the conclusion that those that I love and love me in turn are those I value most.

2. Loyalty: this was my very first thought and goes hand in hand with my first value. The ability to show belief and honour in who you are and to those around you

3. Courage: I relised I dont often live up to this one but having the courage to stand up and be counted when it is required of you and also to put your hand up when you make a mistake is of upmost importance to me.

4. Trust: in both yourself and the people around you. To not allow yourself to be fooled by shadows and know what is right.

5. Integrity: Always sticking by who you are and those you love. Never wavering from the path you set for yourself

90 Staci April 8, 2014 at 4:16 am

Seriously….this is a helpful website.

91 John April 8, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Family (Wife, then kids, the others)
Independence (superseded by healthy dependence on wife)

92 bijan nath April 10, 2014 at 11:16 am

important things in mi life are
1 family
2 god
3 normal life- independent ,self reliance , confident, fun,faith, forgiveness, hope, growth
4 not to repeat mistake
5 control

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