Ever get the feeling that you’re behaving in ways that are consistent with your values?
To help overcome this, you might like to try getting clearer on what your values actually are.
A therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, pronounced like the word rather than A,C,T) has some good ideas for how to do this.
ACT makes a distinction between values and goals.
Values are by definition things you can’t “complete” or “tick off,” and want to keep doing forever.
Values also tend to be things you can control whereas goals tend to be things you can’t completely control.
For example, you might have the goal of being respected by other people but you cannot completely control this.
Instead – what are the behaviours you think are worthy of respect, that you want to keep doing regardless of whether other people are respecting you? These are your values.
The C in ACT stands for commitment which is about committing to enacting your values independent of your current feelings.
Pages 11 to 15 of this pdf are useful for understanding your values.
The information above is a free online resource provided by Dr Russ Harris, an ACT expert, who is the author of “The Happiness Trap”. The pdf is intended to accompany the book but I think you’ll benefit from completing the self reflection exercises on pages 11 to 15 of the pdf even if you can’t/don’t want to read the book. If you’re interested in this topic or find the difference between goals and values confusing, then consider reading The Happiness Trap book.
Link to book for New Zealand readers The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living
Link to book for international readers – The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living
If you click on the international readers link you’ll see that the book has very positive user reviews on Amazon.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has many useful tools that I find helpful for using with clients and teaching clients how to use for themselves. I’ll try to write about some more of them here, but the book above is also a good resource.
Thank you to my friend Diane who I was chatting with about ACT the other day and who got me thinking about writing about some ACT strategies on the blog 🙂