Learning Objective #6: Goals Using Personal Values to Set Short- and Long-Term Goals

Objective: Students will use increased awareness of their personal values to craft effective short- and long-term goals

What do you value most in life? Money? Fame? Happiness? God? Deciding what we value helps to shape our morals and to shape our goals in life. Taking a look at our values also shows what kind of person we are in general: family oriented, success-driven or status-seeking, among countless other labels. There is no right or wrong, only realization as one finds what they value above other things. Knowing what we value allows us as individuals to determine short term and long term goals for the future. This exercise allows students to set goals that they can actively pursue based on values that they find meaningful to their own lives.

The Exhibit

"Personal Values Card Sort" Exercise

Round 1

Sorting all given cards into 3 categories: Very Important to Me, Important to Me and Not Important to Me

Round 2

Taking all of the cards that I previously had in the "Most Important to Me" column, I then filtered them further to put my top ten values into "Most Important to Me".

Round 3

In Round 3, I filtered my top ten values to only my top five values

Round 4

The final round consisted of me choosing the one value that I hold above all others. This was definitely the hardest round.


This activity was very eye opening and very helpful in showing me who I am as a person. Sorting cards into piles sounds like such an easy task--and in the beginning it was!--but it was actually quite difficult as we had to progressively cut out more and more cards. While completing the “Personal Values Card Sort”, I honestly picked up a card, looked at the term/definition for a maximum of 5 seconds and immediately put it into a category. I just went with my gut feeling and didn’t spend much time thinking about it. When sorting out my top values (Round 2), I actually only included six values. However, it was said that we had to include ten values, so I had to go back and add some more. Looking back over my top ten values, I noticed that none of them were tangible things, such as money or possessions. They consisted of intangible things such as friendship, creativity and self-acceptance. Narrowing the list further, my top five values were: Growth, Purpose, Service, Knowledge and God's Will. My number one value was God's Will, because Christ is the most important thing to me. Honestly, the only hard part was picking my top five; I knew my top value and I accidentally narrowed my top ten to six values, so the only problem I had was picking my top five out of those six cards. What surprised me most throughout this exercise was actually how easy the whole thing was. I knew what I valued and what I didn't and taking a look at what I actually counted as important showed me the big picture of who I was. It was like taking pieces of a puzzle and putting them together and then getting to see the big picture in its entirety. I really liked this exercise and thought it was a very cool experience.

Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Short-Term Goals

Become More Optimistic

Action Plan: Okay, I'll admit it, sometimes I can be a Debby Downer. It's not something I try to be, it's just automatic, which is a very big problem. Coinciding with the value of "Growth", which was one of my top five values, I am setting a goal of becoming more optimistic in my thoughts in order to have a more positive outlook on life. Whenever I automatically start to view things in a negative light, I will quickly rewire my thoughts and view the situation from a more positive perspective. Another thing that I can do is when responding to a bad situation, I need to view it in terms of longevity; for example, telling myself, "Will this matter to me in a month?"

Volunteer More

Action Plan: This short-term goal is one that is actually a tangible thing, so I can directly see the results and immediately make a check mark on my to-do list after doing it. This goal correlates with two of my top five values: "Service" and "Purpose". Volunteering is an act of service and so it is clear how they directly associate with one another. Due to the fact that I derive my purpose as being helpful, being kind to others and following God's will, the act of volunteering and helping others strongly connects with the value of "Purpose". My action plan for achieving this goal is to sign up for more events where I can volunteer my time, labor and ideas. I am on a service committee in Clemson and so it will be easy to schedule and attend events.

Long-Term Goals

Becoming a Better Christian

Action Plan: I couldn't really think of a goal that went with "God's Will", which was another one of my top five values. However, starting with this semester, I have become really involved in an on-campus ministry here at Clemson called Campus Outreach, which has provided so many friends, opportunities and growth for me personally. This factor of personal growth is what I focused on when creating this particular goal. Growing in my faith and becoming a better Christian is what I want to be my ultimate goal; however, this will take daily dedication and hard work. My plan of action is to read my Bible daily and live it out, while also becoming even more involved in Campus Outreach and all of the events that they hold. This goal is will definitely need the span of my lifetime in order for me to achieve it.

Making Better Grades

Action Plan: As for my last value of "Knowledge", I immediately thought of grades and, more specifically, doing better in that department. I've done exceptionally better than last semester, but, for this goal, I want to achieve better grades overall--not just for the next test or quiz, but to add to a heap of knowledge that will be achieved and grown over a lifetime. In order to achieve this particular goal, I plan on applying the tools and tricks I've learned in CU1010--for example, the study cycle, factors of short- and long-term memory, the 8 values for achieving excellence--to help me in my studies and to help my knowledge, in general, to expand.


Created with images by Unsplash - "hiking mountain climbing mountain" • Alexas_Fotos - "target arrive reach" • NikolayFrolochkin - "diary office work"

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