Living to Your Values~ The ACT Approach~

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all well and have lost yourself completely in the chaos that is in between Christmas and New Years. Do you know why I say that? If you’ve lost track, it means that you are truly present in your day. You are living your life without the stress of counting down to the next thing, the next big meeting, or the next deadline.

Yesterday I posted a few videos online of how I like to reset myself a few times a year, using a Values Assessment. It resonated with many of you and I thank everyone who has viewed, shared and DM’d me about it. I thought I would follow up with a guide on how to connect with your values, and who you are as a person. We forget all this when we are setting ourselves up for the New Year and setting goals. But what do these goals even mean and where do they come from? If we want to lose weight, why? If we want to use our phones less, why? If we want to read more, why?

Our values are a part of who we are. They do not change whether we are children, teens, adults, or in our elderly years. They are our anchoring point within, and don’t change much. For example, our values may be about being physically and mentally healthy, to have healthy loving relationships and to have fun with our children. Our values are broad and allow us to be kind to ourselves and others.

In my clinical work, I try to understand someone’s values in order for them to build the life they want and need. It comes from the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy approach. You see, when we live to our values, we do all these lovely helpful actions that makes us feel alive and present and buzzy inside. We look after our minds and our bodies. When we don’t live to our values, we feel it in our body and mind. We lose sight of what is really truly important to us and go for quick fixes. We eat unhealthy food that we think we enjoy, we lose our tempers quickly rather than walking away and coming back when calmer, we binge watch TV instead of working on that project that is really important to us. Then New Years comes along and we look at our current patterns and decide to do an overhaul. We will want to lose that stone, we will put money into a swear jar, we will run 5 times a week. Does this sound familiar?

I had done this for years until I trained in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This approach is really helpful for when we feel a bit stuck, and not in control of our circumstances. Rather than resisting the situation, we can open ourselves up to it and find a way to see that although we can’t change the situation, we can be the best of ourselves. Things may be a bit crap (2020, am I right?) but it’s not going to miraculously go away. What we can do is commit to be our perfectly imperfect selves, and be the best we can at it so we can move through the situation with just a little more ease.

So what does this mean for our goal setting? Let’s take a step back. Lets tap into you first. Who are you and what do you need in life? As you saw in my IG stories last night, I channelled my inner Pinterest Mum and bullet journalled the bejesus (? trying not to swear) out of my Values Map. I split my life into all the key parts and start brainstorming what each part means for me and why.

Write it down for:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Love
  • Parenting
  • Spirituality
  • Citizenship
  • Career
  • Personal Growth/ Education
  • Recreation
  • Physical Wellbeing

The questions you can ask yourself are: what kind of person do you want to be when you are with your family/ friends/ children/ parents/ siblings? What would you hope these relationships look like? What qualities do you have/ hope to have?

An example I can share is when I was 10, when I was 25, now in my thirties and when I am 86, I hope to be physically healthy. This is a really broad value and can mean so many things. It means that I will choose to exercise and go for walks because it gets my energy pumping, it means I brush my teeth twice a day, I go to doctors appointments when I need them and take multivitamins daily. When I feel low in mood, these things aren’t so prominent in my to do list. However I reconnect with my values chart now and then and think “ah, that’s where I have gone wrong” and implement these things back in my routine again.

When you’ve filled in your chart, go back to each one and write down out of 10 how well you are adhering to your values. It may surprise you. This is where we can make our life a little more interesting. You can set little goals to connect you back to the best of you. The goals come from within you, rather than from what the world is influencing you to work towards.

Doing this values exercise, it led me to do some arty things which I share with you on my IG stories and on here.

I would love to hear how you get on with this. Tag me in any of your values charts or arty things you get on with. It genuinely brings me joy.

Enjoy your valuing time! Happy New Year 🙂

Aman xx

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