In ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) you are encouraged to clarify what you value most in your life (e.g., engaging in sport, organizing things, working outside, being creative, being self-sufficient).
Understanding what you value in life and what is important to you can provide you with an underlying ‘guide,’ allowing you to make important decisions and move closer to a life that is meaningful and fulfilling for you.
When you are familiar with your values, you can add related goals. For example, if you value ‘being a strong family person’ you may have goals such as “not missing sports day,’ ‘spending time going fishing with the kids’ and ‘cooking with the family.’ These goals are what you might want to achieve in service of your value ‘to be a strong family person.’
If there is a mismatch between what you truly value (e.g., being a family person) and what you actually do (e.g., being at work for long hours), you may find you experience higher levels of anxiety or stress.
There are many exercises on values that you can download online. Keep in mind that your values may change over time, so you may find your answers vary at different points in your life.
Explore your values by thinking about such questions as:
What do you want your life to be about?
What do you want to stand for?
What do you want to do with your brief time on this planet?
What truly matters to you in the big picture?
How do you want to behave on an ongoing basis?
What are your deepest desires for the way you will be in this world?
What sort of person do you want to be?
What sort of strengths and qualities do you want to develop?
What you can do:
- Find an exercise on values or go through the above questions to help clarify what is important to you.
- Pick just one value and ask yourself, “What one, small thing can I do to start using this value in my life?”
- Set this as a task or a goal that you can achieve.