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Identifying Your Values

Let's have a look at Identifying your values. Redlands Counselling Service at Capalaba finds this is an important step in the process of counselling. I will ask you some questions to think about in your head and will provide a worksheet. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at my website. The inspiration for identifying values comes from Russ Harris who is an Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) guru.

So lets get started then. Deep down inside, what is important to you? What do you want your life to stand for? What sort of qualities do you want to cultivate as a person? How do you want to be in your relationships with others? Values are our heart's deepest desires for the way we want to interact with and relate to the world, other people, and ourselves. They are leading principles that can guide us and motivate us as we move through life. Values reflect what you want to do, and how you want to do it. They are about how you want to behave towards your friends, your family, yourself, your environment, your work, etc. Values are not the same as goals. Values involve ongoing action; they are like directions we keep moving in, whereas goals are what we want to achieve along the way. A value is like heading West; a goal is like the river or mountain or valley we aim to cross whilst traveling in that direction. Goals can be achieved or ‘crossed off’, whereas values are ongoing. (No matter how far West you go, you never reach it!) For example, if you want to be a loving, caring, supportive partner, that is a value: it involves ongoing action. In contrast, if you want to get married, that’s a goal - it can be ‘crossed off’ or achieved. If you want a better job, that’s a goal. Once you’ve got it - goal achieved. But if you want to fully apply yourself at work, contribute your best, and engage fully in what you’re doing, that’s a value: it involves ongoing action.

Our everyday decisions we make in our lives are based on our own, individual hierarchy of values. Your personal values system refers to your own, unique values that are specific only to you and are demonstrated daily in your life. Only when you are aligned with your values in every area of your life, do you feel fulfilled and content. However, your personal value system which we are referring to here is not what society generally denotes as ‘values’ as they are not moral codes of existence but rather individualised responses to the world around us.

I hope this has explained the difference between values and goals clearly. Once you have identified what's important about how you want behave, then you can look at goal setting.

You can click on this link to go to resources section of my website to download the values worksheet to help you work on your values.

If you need help working on yourself, book in a session with me at Redlands Counselling Service in Capalaba.

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