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Connect With Values and Goals

January 9th, 2023 by Janet Chen

In a recent Psychology Today article, “How to Connect with Your Values”, by Steven Hayes, Ph.D. one is encouraged to connect with their values.  Dr. Hayes suggests that distinguishing between values and goals can give one increased direction, meaning and motivation.

Hayes defines goals as finite achievements.  He believes that once you reach goals, you have completed the task.

In contrast, he says that values are qualities of “being” and “doing”.  They provide people with direction.  Values help you focus energy.  They provide you with additional motivation and fulfillment.

Many people experience pain along life’s journey.  The challenges people endure become much easier to manage when it falls in line with a person’s goals and values.

He suggests the following exercises to identify one’s values:

Exercise 1 – is based on Kelly G. Wilson’s Valued Living Questionnaire.  We are encouraged to consider the following life areas and rate them according to their importance on a 1 to 10 scale (1 is less important and 10 is highly important). 

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.  You are answering for yourself, adhering to your own values.

___ Family

___ Marriage, Couples, Intimate Relations

___ Parenting

___ Friends, Social Life

___ Work

___ Education, Training

___ Recreation, Fun

___ Spirituality

___ Citizenship, Community

___ Physical Self-Care

___ Environmental Concerns

___ Art, Creative Expression, Aesthetics

Exercise 2 – Rate Your Consistency

Look at the life areas above once more, but this time rate yourself on how consistent your actions have been with your values.

Exercise 3 – Write Down Your Values

Look at your answers from the previous exercises.  Identify the high, low, and middle score areas for importance and actions.  Write down your answers in each of the areas.  Consider the questions in each area –

What do I care about in this area?

What do I want to do in this area that reflects my caring?

What can I do to manifest this value more in my life?

According to Hayes, writing down values can positively influence your health and behavior.  He indicates that knowing your values and living in a way that is congruent with them is fulfilling.  He believes it is important to connect with values and goals. He thinks this isn’t a single choice, but a life-long challenge.

For more information, please see the full article in Psychology Today.

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