A woman with a prosthesis and a man with a prosthesis sitting on a small wall looking at each other and smiling.


The MENTOR program uses the acronym MY SCORECARD as a simple and effective way to monitor behaviors throughout the day. The fourth letter in MY SCORECARD is C, which stands for core values.

Core values are a key wellness domain for mental health. These values represent what an individual believes in, such as achieving good health or being positive with others, and how they practice these beliefs daily.

Core values are more about who a person wants to be rather than what they want to do. Understanding who you want to be (e.g., a person who eats well) helps you determine what actions to take to achieve this identity.

What are Core Values?

Core values are what matter most in life. They embody the deepest feelings of who we are at our core and reflect how we live or aspire to live. They are the characteristics we want others to recognize in us. Core values are the essence of our identity and guide the kind of life we wish to lead.

Why Do Core Values Matter?

A fulfilling life requires a set of guiding principles like core values. Core values are crucial for maintaining positive relationships with family, friends and coworkers. They are also essential for living a mindful life that respects and dignifies others.

In the MENTOR program, core values also focus on living well with a disability or health condition, emphasizing the importance of health and the strategies to maintain it.

Core values form the foundation for healthy living. They provide purpose, clarity and perspective. Without them, individuals may feel aimless and struggle with setting and achieving goals, especially after acquiring a disability.

Core values help prevent feelings of apathy, loss and grievance, making behavior change more attainable. They not only benefit the individual but also positively impact those around them.

Core values are an important part of healthy living and help navigate life’s challenges. Challenges and problems can lead to negative emotions like anger, frustration and despair. But when you adopt core values, you can shape your identity and stay focused on your journey from recovery to improvement and prevention.

Living by core values begins with committing to a set of values that align with your goals. Goals represent your destination, while values guide your journey. Core values act as guideposts, helping you stay on track even when faced with challenges.

How to Start

Begin by identifying and writing down your core values. Instead of saying you need to quit smoking or you need to start exercising, tell yourself who you want to be and make it part of your identity. This process can transform your identity, leading to positive behavior changes. Core values are about becoming someone, not just having something.  

Instead of defining yourself by your goals (like losing 10 pounds, exercising more or eating better), define yourself by the person you aspire to be. Use statements such as:

  • I am a physically active person.
  • I am a mindful person.
  • I am a person who manages personal hygiene and advocates for access and inclusion.
  • I am a person who lives by core values that prioritize others’ needs above my own.
  • My relationships with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and strangers reflect a spirit of love and connectedness.
  • I respect my mind and body by eating well.
  • I honor the need for my mind and body to rest by sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night.

Understanding and living by your core values increases the likelihood of achieving your MENTOR goals. Once you make this part of your identity, it becomes a self-regulating behavior for you to achieve on your own. Make core values part of your daily life and hopefully, you become the person you want to be!

To learn more about MENTOR, visit our program page!