Guided By Your Values
Most of us can establish goals for ourselves, but what is underneath the goal that you’re establishing? Goals can be distressing. They can even make you further doubt yourself if you’re setting them up with the wrong intentions.
This is probably different than what you hear about setting a goal for yourself. But think about how you feel or think about yourself when you fail to reach the goal.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t set goals just to avoid feeling bad. Instead, it’s critical to realize that goals themselves shouldn’t necessarily be set up to make you feel better either. If you reach a goal, feeling good about yourself is usually very fleeting. It doesn’t tend to last very long, and you’re usually back to where you started to begin with. The antidote to this is learning to create a separation between setting up a goal to only feel better vs. setting up a goal that helps you move towards a life that you want to live.
When goals are meant to move us away from something painful.
So many of us set up goals to get away from something painful. Behind the goal can be thoughts of “I don’t think I’m good enough.” It’s natural and logical to then think, “I’ll be good enough if I achieve this goal.”
What we often forget about is that the sense of being “not good enough” usually will return, which then again shapes our new goals. This cycle goes on and on, without ever reaching the permanent goal of feeling better.
Why is this a problem? This cycle can keep you from living your life and taking mindful risks that move you towards enhanced relationships with others and yourself.
Identifying your values.
I usually recommend people step away from the outcome for a little bit and instead focus on what they want out of their lives. You can ask yourself the following question.When is your life most based on your values? Remember it’s important to recognize the difference between values and morals. Values are things that you find important inside of yourself whereas morals are dictated by the society that surrounds you.
Inside of you, what do you value? Honesty, hard work, loyalty, fun, connection, challenge, recognition, competition are some words that are examples of values. If you want a list of values to get you started, here is a good list of values.
Watch out for “being happy.”
Of course I want you to be happy. However, happiness is a feeling. Like all other feelings, they ebb and flow and come and go. You just can’t be happy all the time. Rather than focusing on “being happy” all of the time, I push you to think about what is important to you. For example, if you value connection and challenge, you might engage in something that is team based, but also had a lot of challenge to it. The challenges mean that you’ll likely fail at some point. It won’t feel good! At the same time, you’ll have those connections that you can lean on and you’ll also be able to reflect on the challenges that you face. The disappointment will subside, and you’ll realize that you lived according to what is important to you.
Your values help you reground, reorient, and encourage yourself to try again.
Anytime you set out to reach goals and make changes, you’ll at some point fail, feel let down, etc. Your values are what you want to turn to. This can help you identify why you even took the step or chance that you took. It’s possible, when you focus on your values, you may even identify that weren’t in alignment with your values. This isn’t just you and it happens to all of us. When you identify your values, you can use the information to help you feel more congruent with yourself. If you have a goal, you can tweak it so that it’s more in alignment.
You can also use the information to help you refocus your plan so that you are more likely to feel more successful.
If you’re wanting help finding yourself, discovering your values and using them to help you reach goals around healing trauma, your relationships or improving your sex life, feel free to contact us today.