Value congruence is the extent to which an individual’s behaviour is consistent with his or her stated value. Although values, by their very definition, are considered to be important (e.g., exercising, spending time with children), the behaviour of clients is often not consistent with their values (e.g., spending more hours in front of the television, working during the evening hours, etc.). In order to decrease the discrepancy between values and actual valued living, it is important to create awareness of this discrepancy in the first place.

This exercise can be used to visually represent this discrepancy and offer an effective starting point for designing interventions to decrease the gap between values and value-driven behaviour.

Part 1: Divide the circle into slices, each representing the amount of time you spend on different elements or areas of your life. The larger the slice, the more time you spend on that area. Typical areas of life include Immediate Family, Community, Neighbourhood, Extended Family, Spirituality, Work, Fun & Recreation, Creativity, Personal Development, Goals & Values, Romance & Love, Volunteering, Money, and Health & Exercise. Feel free to add or remove any of the above items.

This represents your Current Life.

Part 2: Now complete the same exercise, using a second circle, but think about where you would actually want to spend your time. What makes you happy? What gives you peace of mind?

This represents your Ideal Life.

Part 3: Take some time to reflect on the following questions as a form of self-evaluation:

  1. What’s the difference between your current versus ideal circle?
  2. Did you notice any inconsistencies?
  3. What prevents you from taking action to make your “current life” closer to your “ideal life”? Are there internal or external barriers? Which barrier is the biggest one for you to overcome right now?
  4. How could you align your life with your true priorities? It takes changing and reframing habits to change your life. What small and manageable new practices could you implement to work towards your ideal values circle?

To help you get closer to your ideal, make copies of your ideal wheel and hang it in a place you will see every day. Seeing your ideal wheel on a regular basis will remind you, and help you make values-based decisions daily.