I think you’ll agree with me when I say that New Year’s Resolutions are really hard to stick to.

Or are they?

Well, it turns out, that you can drastically change your life for the better by adding one simple goal setting technique to your resolutions.

What is that technique?

Aligning your New Year’s Resolutions with your Personal Core Values.

It’s simple to do, and it creates ownership and motivation to achieve your goals.

The reason is this:

You’re setting a goal that you CARE about.

It’s a goal that you don’t HAVE to stick to.
It’s a goal that you WANT to stick to.

But how do you know what your Personal Core Values are?

I’ve got you covered! I have a free PDF to support you in finding your Personal Core Values.

Get our Core Values Discovery Worksheet here

It took me years of failing to stick to ambitious New Year’s Resolutions before I figured  that out…

I need to make resolutions that I can stick to.

In today’s post I’m going to show you exactly how to define your Personal Core Values, and then how to use them to set goals that you will be inspired to stick to.

What’s at the Heart of all of us? Personal Core Values.


Core Values are beliefs that, without them, life isn’t worth living.

They are deeply imbedded into our personality and very important to everything we do.

Here are some Examples of Core Values:
Work Ethic

The Secret to Discovering Your Personal Core Values

There is three ways:

  1. Tell a story that made a huge impact on your life
  2. Answer the questions, “What makes you proud?”
  3. Work on your autobiography

Now let’s look at each more in depth…

1. Tell a story that made a huge impact on your life.

Often these are the stories where you remember a crazy amount of details even though the event took place when you were a child. You may remember what shirt you had on, or the message on a marquee in the distance.

The story will have a conflict of some kind, a resolution that was achieved, and some sort of consequence or result of the actions taken.

Then finally there is a moral to the story. Something that you learned or realized about life and as a result you instilled a Core Value into yourself for life.

Here’s an example of one of my Personal Core Value Stories:

One of my Personal Core Values is something that I call “Grinder”. It’s a term used to describe someone that hustles, or is willing to do what it takes to win. To grind.

Where did this Core Value come from?

I can tell you this, I did’t have all my life!

I was driving Northbound on I-15 in Sandy, UT and I was on the phone with my dad. It was fall 2004. I told him that I was going to take a semester off from the University of Utah. I had gotten a promotion at work, and wanted to put my effort there, and not be distracted by school. He was not thrilled, but he supported me. Then he said to me,

“I’ll only pay for your school if you go back within one year. After that, you have to pay yourself.” It was eye opening. Life just got real.

Now I was left with two paths:

  1. Go back to school within a year
  2. Make this shoe salesman gig work

So, I became “A Grinder”. I worked six days a week, every week, from age 19 to 27. My personal record is 56 days in a row. At peak times of Christmas I’d put in over 80 hours in one week.

I am a work-aholic. But doing anything less than 50+ hour work weeks is unacceptable. Can’t even imagine it! Because of this work ethic, I was extremely successful. I was promoted to be a District Manager of 22 stores across 3 states at age 25.

Being a Grinder is something that I can’t live without. It’s caused so much good in my life I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

2. Answer the question; “What makes you proud?”

After you answer the question, you then drill down on how you got to that point, and how you achieved the status or thing that makes you proud.

Using my example above:

What makes me proud? Career success…or…District Manager at age 25.

How did I get to that point?

I out worked EVERYONE. I did what needed to be done to be successful, putting in as many hours as it took to win.

What’s the Core Value?

Work Ethic – Which I then gave a fancy name to – Grinder.

3. Work on Your Autobiography

Ok wait, what?

Think like you’re going to write an autobiography.


Think as if someone else is going to right a biography on you.

What events and stories are going to go into this book? What event conjures up intense feelings even when you think about them now?

It’s going to be one of the stories where you’ll remember all the details….like what was written on the board behind your teacher as you have a defining moment in 5th grade. Or what your mom said to you about honesty when you got caught stealing a candy bar.

Now, as you start to think about these stories, and those feelings that you had in the moment begin to return, GRAB A PEN.

Write the story down. Pen and paper only (yes, pencil is acceptable).

No electronics allowed. 

Writing down your memories is a powerful exercise, but typing them into your iPhone just isn’t the same.

As you examine the details and tell the story, more feelings come back. The pen and paper are like a memory serum.

If you keep going, writing down stories that are connected, you will begin to piece together the events in your life and start to see exactly why you are WHERE you are, and get a grip on why you are WHO you are.

After you finish writing down one story, examine it for the parts that caused intense feelings.

Answer these questions:

-What made the situation so satisfying, or unsatisfying?
-What themes showed up multiple times?
-What themes are linked to the strongest feelings?
-Standing there, what was the decision that you made that shaped your life going forward?
-What realization did you make about “how the world is” and what you need to do to either cope with it, or win at it?

Now You Have a List; Broad Values

Now you have a list of things from your story, and those are your Broad Values.

What’s that?

These are all things that are important to you, but they aren’t the CORE Values.

Remember, a Core Value is something that, without, life isn’t worth living.

For most of your Broad Values, life can be lived without them. Not a great life, or not living a life that you love, but you can make do.

Now you take your Broad Values list, and connect the dots. See what themes are represented across multiple Broad Values. What feelings are linked to multiple Broad Values?

We’re getting to the core.

How to Alter the Direction of your Life; Personal Core Values

Time for the truly powerful part:

Defining your Personal Core Values gives meaning for all the things you do, and all the things you care about. Let’s go!

Take the linked Broad Values, and group them.

What theme links them?

What is the driving force in the groupings?

Repeat the process with other events in your life, or with other areas that make you proud.

Now Distill the list down to 3 to 5 Core Values….

Now, you have you Core Personal Values!

Time for Some Personal Flare: Mantras

Now for me, I have a love for branding!

I name everything from my theories on hiring (personal fav is my “Pocket Square Theory”) to my take on parking spots at Wal-mart vs Target (my Shopping Cart Integrity Theory). As a child, my sister and I had names for every blanket in the house!

So instead of “Work Ethic”, I rebranded my Core Value to “Grinder”.

This is both something that has always been a part of my life, and something that helps my connection to the Values that I have.

The most powerful part of naming you Core Values something unique is that you can easily turn it into a Mantra.

When I’m tired, been trudging long hours, and have more to go, I have a Grinder Mantra that I repeat in my head that keeps me going at 100% even as exhaustion sets in. At times of true peril, I’ll start to say it out loud to myself. It’s a reminder to me that “We don’t Quit”.

The Ultimate New Year’s Resolutions Hack

Now for the reason that you came here.

New Year’s Resolutions that you can stick to.

Goals that you WANT to accomplish.

If you skipped to the end, don’t worry, I got you!
Click this link to get our Core Values Discovery Worksheet and we’ll get you all caught up!

Take the Resolutions that you were going to make, and examine how they fit in with your Personal Core Values.


Where they are out of alignment, go back to the drawing board.

Bottom line:

You are not going to stick to working on a goal that you don’t care about AT YOUR CORE.

If “fitness” or “health” is not something that you have as a Personal Core Value, then a New Year’s resolution of “losing 20 pounds” is a wish, not a goal.

Give yourself three New Year’s Resolutions that line up with your Personal Core Values, and be intentional about it!

Your 3 New Year’s Resolutions should follow this template:

  1. Easy to accomplish – No expired food in the house (borrowed that one from my dad)
  2. Moderate to accomplish – No sugar except on Sunday’s
  3. Challenging to accomplish – Workout 6 days per week, ALWAYS on Sunday.

With this plan, you set yourself up for small success to reinforce some BIG changes.

PS: New Personal Core Values?

Now, if “fitness” or “health” is something that you are starting to really care about, and think it may work it’s way into your Core Values, then what?

You can accomplish it because you’re also tapping into inspiration, being as it’s new to you.

…and you probably just bought new running shoes, new workout clothes, and an apple watch to track your soon-to-be progress 😉

There’s one more hack to add to the mix for adding a new Core Value.

It’s one that ain’t pretty or glamorous…

Here’s the deal:

You HAVE to have discipline. Period.

Skip a day, and you’ll fall off the path. It’s not a Core Value YET.

Stay on the path, and you’ll add it to your Core Values List soon.

We’d love to hear some of your New Years Resolutions and how they align with your core values!

Also, any coaching that you feel you need, don’t hesitate to get a hold of us!

Thanks as always for reading,


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