We all find purpose and meaning in different things for example, relationships, hobbies, work, community life or caring for others, as well as the values that make us who we are. It is our values that guide what is important in our lives, why we choose to do the things we do and what sort of person we want to be.
Values are not the same as goals. Think of your values as a compass that keeps you heading in the direction you want to go in life, whereas goals are how you want to get there. A goal is a specific task that can be ticked off when you achieve it, but your values are enduring, and there are many different ways to incorporate them into your life. Focusing on your values can be a powerful part of supporting your emotional wellbeing.
Ask yourself the following questions and note down your answers. This will help you to complete the exercises in this chapter and to create your ACT Plan.
Print and fill in as you go through the tool or complete it in stages – it’s your ACT Plan and it’s tailored to you.
These next three exercises are designed to help you re-connect with what is most important to you. You may want to do just one exercise or to do all three.
Once you have worked through one or more of these exercises, you will be in a great place to start creating your ACT Plan.
This exercise simply asks you to think about the areas of your life that are most important to you.
Keep in mind the answers you gave in your reflections above, and think about:
This exercise can help you reconnect with some of the things that bring you joy and purpose in life. Importantly this exercise will help you understand why these things are important to you so that you can learn from those moments and replicate how they make you feel by applying this to different scenarios in your life. Look at the image of the filing cabinet and listen to the short audio file to complete this exercise.
Adapted from: LeJeune, J. and Luoma, J. 2016. Seven Values “Greatest Hits”: Our Favourite Values Exercises from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Available at: https://portlandpsychotherapytraining.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2016/06/Favorite_act_values_exercise_scripts.pdf (Last accessed: May 2020)
We may not actively think about them often, but our values influence everything we think and do. This exercise helps you explore your values so that you can identify and connect with the things that are most important to you.
Adapted from: Harris, R. 2010. The Confidence Gap: Complete worksheet. Available at: https://www.actmindfully.com.au/upimages/complete_worksheets_for_The_Confidence_Gap.pdf (Last accessed: May 2020).