ACT and The Present Moment

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  When will I finally get where I want to go?

A:  You are already here!

Dalai Lama Quote

The Dalai Lama said it well, didn’t he?  Well he would, wouldn’t he?

“Man lives as if  he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Why?

Because we forget that the present moment is the only place where we can actually do our living.

ACT is very clear about this.  Life is always lived in the present moment.  We can’t go back and change the past, we can’t go forward and control the future.  Yes, reflecting on the past and planning for the future are valuable activities and helpful, most of the time, but we are in trouble when we fuse with the past or future and lose contact with the present.

So, if we spend our lives worrying about the future or living in the past as if they are really here, we have turned our back on the present moment.  If we spend our time planning and projecting a wonderful tomorrow or looking back with regret at better times now gone, we have turned our back on the present moment.  This is not good news!  Each time we do this our opportunity to live well in the present is lost; and many of us do this a lot!

Sometimes too, we can become so dazzled by the idea of better times ahead that we don’t bother much with the present moment.  It doesn’t seem to measure up so we disregard it.  We are so focused on the destination that we forget to pay attention to the journey, and we miss out big-time.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were able to see that there is no destination, because wherever we are is the destination.  If we could adopt that mind-set then there would be no more waiting for better times because they would already be here, and we would act accordingly.

So, in ACT terms that doesn’t mean that we need to stop thinking about the future or the past but what it does mean is that we should try to become more flexible.   Choose to be in the present when that is needed, to be in the future when planning is required, or to be in the past when that works best.

Simple???  Not at all.  But worth the effort.

I wrote “THE DESTINATION DAZZLE” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at staying in the present moment?
  • How do you cope with thoughts that drag you back to the past or try to lure you into the future?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

TIP FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

couple on the beach

THE DESTINATION DAZZLE

Let’s not be dazzled by destination when the journey will suffice,

Nor trade in a passing pleasure, for it won’t come our way twice,

For when we are over focused on whatever lies afar,

We are blind to all the treasures that are scattered where we are.

Oh it’s easy to be hijacked by a future seemingly

That much shinier and finer than where we are presently,

But it’s only an illusion, just a dream that we have spun,

It’s the present we must look to for our moments in the sun.

And the destination dazzle does have power to eclipse

All those lovely little moments as it plays its brinkmanships

Saying, “This is insufficient, better times lie just ahead,”

But if we don’t call its bluff ‘twill say it still on our death-bed!

And so let’s put it in perspective, let’s allow ourselves to dream

But futures come with a health warning, they are rarely what they seem,

Whereas the present has the power to transform lives instantly

When we see our destination’s everywhere we happen to be.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “THE DESTINATION DAZZLE” please pass it on, and do please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

D J Moran, PHD, has posted an excellent video entitled  “Demystifying ACT – The Present Moment.

I found it really interesting and I am sure that you will too.  He talks about how research shows that most of us spend approximately 47% of our waking hours anywhere other than in the present moment.  We are, to quote Moran, “there and then, as opposed to here and now.”  And, of course when we are “there and then” we are missing out on the opportunity to do something meaningful “here and now!”

Which brings us to the ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments.  How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ACT and Making Progress

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: I’ve got so far to go.  How can I possibly reach my  destination?

A: Taking one step at a time.

ACT is quite clear.  The route to a meaningful life lies in discovering our purpose and then carrying it out.  In other words, a meaningful life, one that feels rich and vibrant, requires that we discover our values and then do things that reflect them.

This is more difficult than it sounds.  Sometimes discovering our purpose can feel like one big head-ache.  Life was much easier pre-purpose.  Of course it was. Life was easier when we lived on automatic pilot, life was much easier when we stayed within our comfort zone and life was much, much easier when we just did the same old, same old.

Easier yes, but also stagnant and stifling.  Easier yes, but also generating a feeling of discontent, a feeling of something being missing.

If we are still asking ourselves the question, “What’s it all about?” it’s likely we have yet to discover our purpose!!

Assuming we have discovered our purpose the question then is are we willing to pursue it?  Are we willing to put in the effort required?  Are we willing to take one step forward and two steps back?  Are we willing to accept that there will be times, perhaps many times, when we will feel uncomfortable, frustrated and unsure?  Are we willing to accept the discomfort and carry on anyway?

If the answer is yes, then happily we don’t have to do it all at once.  Happily we can take just one step at a time in a meaningful direction. I think I can manage that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you willing to accept the discomfort that comes with pursuing your purpose?
  • Are you willing to accept that the way will be strewn with obstacles and difficulties and carry on regardless?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

TIP FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

image

ONE STEP AT A TIME

It all seems so confusing, ‘twould be easier to stop,

There’s a mountain that needs climbing and the prize sits at the top,

And we’re stumbling in the foothills, have we even come that far?

Monkey mind’s already saying, “It’s too far this Shangri-La!”

And it’s tempting to believe it for the effort that’s required

Leaves us feeling more exhausted than it makes us feel inspired,

But in all of this confusion, let’s not be in any doubt,

The retreat we are considering is not our best way out.

For already we’ve moved forward and a new place we have reached,

It may not have been a pretty sight but boundaries we’ve breached

And we know a bit too much now, and what’s known can’t be unknown,

It is part of who we are now and ourselves we can’t disown.

And so it’s better we continue in a forward sort of way,

Making just a little progress, and then bit by bit each day

We’ll emerge from those old foothills and the mountain start to climb,

And one day we’ll reach the summit taking one step at a time.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “ONE STEP AT A TIME” please pass it on, and do please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

I first heard about this wonderful book in my ACT group and it is a story that has stayed with me ever since.

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Touching the Void tells the amazing story of Joe Simpson’s terrifying adventure in the Peruvian Andes.  Joe and his climbing partner, Simon, reached the summit of the remote Siula Grande in June 1995.  A few days later, Simon staggered into Base Camp, exhausted and frost-bitten, with news that Joe was dead.

What happened to Joe, and how the pair dealt with the psychological traumas that resulted when Simon was forced into the appalling decision to cut the rope, makes for compelling reading.

However, from an ACT perspective, what this story also illustrates is how taking one step, in this case one excruciatingly painful crawl and a hop, at a time can lead to tremendous progress.  In Joe’s case his actual survival depended upon his taking that next terrible step.  With broken limbs and a dehydrated body, Joe Simpson is forced to make his way down a treacherous mountain, to his base camp.  In the story Simpson talks of a tiny voice in his mind, pushing him onward when everyone else had seemingly left him for dead.

God forbid we are ever faced with the challenges that Joe had to meet, but in our every day lives we all of us have that “Joe moment” when we have to decide whether or not to take that next step!   What Joe describes is the very definition of digging deep and is inspirational for all of us.

Which brings us to the ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT and the Value Driven Life

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: My life has lost its sparkle. How can I get it back?

A: Return to your values.

 

If we’re honest it’s not so much our life that loses its sparkle as we stop doing the things that bring that sparkle into our life. Yes??

Life doesn’t just sparkle of its own accord.  We have to do the stuff that makes it sparkle.  And that stuff isn’t always that obvious.

It might, for instance, seem obvious that a sparkling life would be full of life’s goodies.  Therefore anyone who has plenty of money to buy those goodies would necessarily have a sparkling life.  Yes??  Well no, we know that’s not always true. A quick look around the people we know and those that we don’t, celebrities and otherwise, is enough to show us that money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. Well we know that really don’t we?

There is enough research out there to show that spending a lifetime in pursuit of increasing one’s spending power is not necessarily the route to the sparkling life.  Well if not money, then what?  If not a sackful of life’s goodies, then what?

In ACT terms living a sparkling life is much more equated with living a life based on our values.   Obviously then we need to find out what our values are, and that’s not always easy.  However, if we want our lives to sparkle then it’s important that we invest time to discover what is important to us, what we want our lives to be about.

Once we know that, then we can shape what we do, our actions, around what matters, our values.  When they match up then our life will start to sparkle again.

TIP FOR TODAY

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How have you been able to use your values to make your life sparkle?
  • If your life lost its sparkle how did you get it back?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

Pebbles in the Stream

PEBBLES IN THE STREAM

Throw a pebble in the stream and watch the ripples run,

That’s what happens with an action, with a something that we’ve done,

It will have its repercussions, sometimes bad and sometimes good,

So if we are doing something let’s do something that we should.

It may be a call to action is at times best left ignored

When we’re feeling over anxious, over tired or just plain bored,

Or maybe we’re indecisive, and it then can do no harm

To withdraw for just a little ‘til we start to feel more calm.

And the question to be asked is if next morning we’ll be proud

Of an action that we’ve taken, and if not it’s disallowed,

And if we’re unsure of the answer let a value shed some light

On the act we’re contemplating, and we’ll soon know if it’s right.

And so if we prize loving kindness let us get it in our head

That a sharp retort or petty jibe is better left unsaid,

And if we say independence is a treasure to pursue

Then we’ll have to do the things that independent spirits do.

And the list is pretty endless, for all lives with values teem

And they’ll always know which pebbles we should throw into the stream,

And although life may seem easier when values we ignore,

It is the value driven life that always sparkles more.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “PEBBLES IN THE STREAM” please pass it on, and do please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

It can be difficult clarifying our values, but given their importance it is well worth the effort.  ACT literature is full of useful techniques to help us to work out and prioritize what really matters to us.   Because I am still reading

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by Oliver, Hill and Morris, their examples and worksheets are freshest in my mind, but I have also used Russ Harris’ excellent book too.

Product Details

Which brings us to the……

ACTivation POINT!

SO …………………………..

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT. I am on a journey. I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

 

Corinne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT and Thought Defusion

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: How can I get rid of troublesome thoughts?

A: You can’t, but you can learn to look at them differently.

Thought Defusion is another pillar-stone of ACT.  Learning to separate ourselves from our thoughts, to distance ourselves from our thinking is one of the key skills that we can learn to reduce our suffering.  For yes, we do cause a lot of our own suffering.

Sometimes our suffering comes to us from external events that we cannot change.  That suffering is part of the human condition.  Learning to accept it as such, as a natural part of human experience, is another dimension of ACT.

However, for now we are talking about our thinking, and how our thoughts can, and often do cause us to suffer.  Learning a different way to respond to our thoughts, what ACT calls Thought Defusion can be very helpful.

In a previous post, ACT and Worrisome Thoughts, we saw how our mind has evolved to err on the side of caution, to look for the negatives and to be on constant red alert.  This is the mind’s natural default position, if you like, and it is like that for a reason.  In evolutionary terms this kind of cautious mind helped us to sniff out danger and survive.  It is this mind-set that 21st century man has inherited, and sometimes it causes us problems.

One of the main aims of ACT is to help us to develop psychological flexibility so that we can learn to respond to the world, both external and internal, in more helpful and meaningful ways.  Thought Defusion is one of the tools that we can use to increase our psychological flexibility.

Most of us take our thoughts far too seriously.  I know I do!  I tend to think that because I am thinking something it must be important, it must be true and I must pay it a lot of attention!  None of that is necessarily the case.  ACT isn’t so much interested in whether a thought is true or false or right or wrong.  ACT is more interested in whether or not a thought is useful or not, or in ACT terms is it workable?  If it is hang on to it, if not let it go.

It helps me to remember that a thought is just a thought.  It is just a string of words, and I have made them up.  I am not my thoughts.  My thoughts are not me.  I had a lot of trouble with this, I can tell you, but learning to distance myself from my thoughts, to see that I am the thinker and not the thought has helped me a lot.

TIP FOR TODAY!

 

Our-thoughts-are-only2

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with troublesome thoughts?
  • Can you create distance from your thoughts and see them as just bits of content passing through?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

file0001045042240

STRINGS OF WORDS

It comes from out of nowhere, it’s the thought we like the least,

It’s the one that most torments us, and once it has been released

It is spiralling within us, a freak storm out of control,

And we’re overcome with anguish as it seeps into our soul.

Where it comes from doesn’t matter, but the old familiar ring

Sets up the old familiar struggle, but it’s here now that’s the thing,

And we’re learning that the struggle doesn’t help us much at all,

It’s just fuel for the thinking we are trying to forestall.

And so let’s try another tactic, for we’re told another way

To respond to stinking thinking is to let it have its day

And be willing to accept it whilst it’s here, just as it is,

Maybe look at it with interest without getting in a tizz.

And it maybe that the thinking that disturbs us will abate,

Or maybe we’ll have to let it be and learn to tolerate

The discomfort it occasions, well we can do that you know

If we make a space inside and let our thoughts just come and go.

And we needn’t make them sticky, we need not with them engage,

We can stop the feeding frenzy that occurs when war we wage,

And we needn’t make them magical with powers from afar,

For our thoughts are only strings of words and that is all they are.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “STRINGS OF WORDS”, please pass it on, and do please leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

ACT suggests lots of techniques for helping us to defuse from our thoughts.  Some of them may seem outlandish, but if they work for you that’s all that matters. Amongst the more wacky ones are:

  • Singing a thought out loud to one of these well-known tunes

Happy Birthday

She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain

Jingle Bells

 

  • Saying the thought in the voice of someone famous, or a cartoon character like

Donald Duck

Homer Simpson

The idea behind these techniques is to try to take the sting out of our thoughts, to reduce them to just the bits of language that they are.  When we have difficult, troublesome thoughts it helps to notice how we verbalise these thoughts to ourselves.  I know when I am having these kinds of thoughts I am verbalising them to myself in a very dark and macabre way.  I am literally scaring myself to death.

If you take the same thought, the same words, and start singing it to Happy Birthday, and I have done that, the thought doesn’t seem nearly as frightening or important.  Try it and see, preferably not in public!!

For more Thought Defusion techniques Oliver, Hill ad Morris’ book

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is very illuminating, and has lots of useful worksheets. I am reading it at the moment and really enjoying it.

Which brings us to the……

ACTivation POINT!

SO …………………………..

Just-for-today-my thoughts

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will …………………………..

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT. I am on a journey. I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

 

Corinne

 

 

ACT and More Mindfulness

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: Mindfulness. What’s all the fuss about?

A: Try it and see!

 

 I wanted to write another piece about Mindfulness quite quickly, while it was literally still on my mind!

We live in such a busy, turbulent, full-on world that it is all too easy to get lost in it.  Before we know it, and despite all our good intentions, the world and all its demands takes over and we forget to be mindful.  Often it is not until we start to feel agitated, stressed and out of sorts that we realise something is missing.  Ah yes that’s it, we forgot to be mindful!

ACT makes much of Mindfulness!  As I point out in the previous post, ACT and MINDFULNESS, Mindfulness is a pillar-stone of ACT.  But, like many others, I found Mindfulness before I found ACT.  Neither did I find ACT because of Mindfulness.  I didn’t know there was a link.

It is Mindfulness then that is currently causing such a stir!  The media is full of it, celebrities sing its praises and there are plenty of resources out there to get you started and keep you going.  Groups are springing up all over and there are all sorts of claims for its health benefits, physical, mental and spiritual.

However, the main thing to remember about Mindfulness is that to reap any benefits you have to try it for yourself.  Reading about it won’t be enough, watching others doing it won’t be enough, listening to the claims of celebrity success won’t be enough, you have to try it for yourself!

It’s the same with ACTACT is all about personal experience.  You have to try it for yourself!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How did you come across Mindfulness?
  • How is Mindfulness working in your life?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

ben_lomond

MINDFULNESS

Let’s try a little mindfulness if agitation looms,

Let us settle in the stillness, and as our attention zooms

On what’s happening inside us and around us we will find

That we’re growing in awareness of what’s happening in our mind.

Oh this mindfulness is topical, creating quite a buzz,

It seems everyone is at it so let’s find out what it does,

How it offers an alternative to thinking mind gone mad

And just watches from safe distance without judging good or bad.

It’s a part of mind grown rusty in this madcap thinking world

Where the thought is all important and not how it is unfurled,

It’s the part that is the thinker who can watch thoughts come and go

Without getting caught in content, that’s what mindfulness has to show.

And so if we are agitated and our thoughts are spinning round

Let’s remember the alternative and quietly stake our ground,

And in the midst of all this turbulence we’ll find a place of peace

For practicing our mindfulness can give us thought release.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “MINDFULNESS”, please pass it on, and do please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

Actually on this occasion I am going to leave the final word to MINDFULNESS.

You can practice Mindfulness yourself, of course you can.  And that is one of the beauties of Mindfulness, you can practice it anywhere, anytime.  Whenever you become aware of the present moment you are, in fact, practicing Mindfulness.

You can learn Mindfulness Skills from any number of excellent books, some of which I have already recommended.

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However, if you have an opportunity to join a Mindfulness Group then I encourage you to give it a try.  Whether it be to learn the initial skills or to develop your practice, there is something really special about being part of such a group.

Mindfulness groups are springing up all over the place and it is worth seeking one out in your area if you can.  I joined a group locally in South Wales UK some years ago, and although I no longer attend regularly I know it is going from strength to strength and I am sure that it continues to reach out and help lots of people.

The SAMYE FOUNDATION Wales, otherwise known as The Mindfulness and Well Being Centre for South Wales, runs a wide range of courses and other activities.  I was delighted to find it when I was looking for something locally and hopefully you will be able to find a local group too if that interests you.

Which brings us to the ………

ACTivation Point!

SO ………………

Mindfulness 2

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

Just for today I will …………………………..

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT. I am on a journey. I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

 

ACT and MINDFULNESS

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: My mind is driving me mad.  What can I do about it?

A: Try a little mindfulness.

One of the things I love about ACT is the way it helps us to develop a different relationship with our mind.

If we have been inclined to be bossed about by our mind, which I certainly have, then it is really liberating to discover that there is another way of living with our mind, a different way of responding to it.

One of the pillar-stones of ACT is Thought Defusion.  Thought Defusion is a way of separating ourselves from our thoughts, learning how to defuse from them in order to observe them. It is a very helpful skill, enabling us to see the mind as a word machine, a creator of thoughts. We come to see that our mind is a part of us, but not the whole of us. When we see mind from this perspective it can help us to make different choices. We can choose not to be bossed about by it for a start!

Another pillar-stone of ACT is Mindfulness. ACT loves Mindfulness and Mindfulness loves ACT, and I love both!

Mindfulness is a way of being in the present moment, of being here now. It is the antidote to the busy mind that loves to be here, there and everywhere.

Mindfulness is another way to develop a different relationship with our mind. It helps us to live more fully in the present moment, the only place where we can actually live our life.  Mindfulness springs the traps of the future-past.  It can, quite literally, help us to “come to our senses.”

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with your “bossy mind”?
  • Does Mindfulness play a part in your life?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

 POEM FOR TODAY

IMG_7485

COMING TO OUR SENSES

The past is but a memory, the future just a fantasy,

The present is the only place where we can lead our life,

It is full of possibility, a place to live creatively,

But all this is forsaken if our mind is running rife.

For our mind is such a strumpet, it just loves to gad about,

Loves to poke around the past, discover what it can dig out,

All those hidden old resentments, those regrets, that long lost pain,

Oh the present is no match for frequent trips down memory lane.

And the future is a magnet, how mind loves to fantasize,

All those lovely little worries it can’t wait to fertilize,

And imagination’s busy spinning horror stories so

Once again the present’s surrendered to a magic lantern show.

And we could live out a lifetime in the future and the past,

If we let mind have its way it would forever shadows cast

On each precious present moment, where our living must be done,

But it’s we must call a halt, tell mind it’s time is over-run

And we’re wresting back the present, and we’re doing it right now,

We are coming to our senses, for we realise that’s how

We experience the present, and we’re mindful from now on

That as soon as mind goes gadding off, the present moment’s gone.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “COMING TO OUR SENSES”, please pass it on, and do please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

I found Mindfulness before I found ACT. In fact, I had been practicing Mindfulness for a few years before I came into contact with ACT. I stumbled upon ACT by chance, and I had no idea that Mindfulness was one of its pillar-stones. Mindfulness though, was different. I sought it out.

Mindfulness was not what I expected. I knew that it had its roots in Buddhist Meditation practices and, as such, I expected it to be very exotic, very eastern, very different and very difficult. It was none of those things.

Mindfulness devotees like to say of it:

Mindfulness is simple, but it isn’t easy

 

That is a very good way to describe it.

Mindfulness is simple. All it means is “Be Here Now!”

Mindfulness is not easy. Our busy mind wants to be here, there and everywhere. Staying in the present moment, being here now, is a constant challenge.

If you want to learn more about Mindfulness then I would recommend the book that I first read when I sought Mindfulness out.  Mark Williams and Danny Penman’s book “Mindfulness – Finding Peace in a Frantic World” is a comprehensive and marvellous read.  Enjoy!

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Which leads us to the …….

ACTivation POINT!

SO …………………………………….

just for today

How about YOU?  What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

Just for today I will …………………………..

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT. I am on a journey. I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

 

Corinne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT and Values and Goals

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

 Q: What’s the difference between a value and a goal?

A: A goal is a signpost, a value is a direction

  

A goal is not a value, a value is not a goal. It is helpful to know the difference.

When we talk about goals, we are usually talking about things we want to achieve, things that indicate that we have succeeded, signs that we are on the right path.  So we might say that we want to get a degree, become a best-selling writer, get married, have children etc, etc. These are all goals. They have an either or quality to them. We can tick them off our list as we achieve them, or not. A goal is a sign that we are on the right path, but it is not the path.

A value is the path. A value is the direction of travel.

When we talk about values we are talking about demonstrating things that are important to us, showing what purpose is meaningful to us. So we might say that creativity is important to us. Well we don’t have to be a best-selling writer to be creative. We can find many ways in our lives to be creative and we can choose to act in a creative way right now.

Or we might say that having loving relationships is important to us. Maybe we won’t get married, maybe we won’t have children, but we can still have loving relationships in our lives. We can choose to act in a loving way right now.

So a goal is not a value, and a value is not a goal. Goals can be helpful, goals can be motivating, but if we are over-focused on goals our lives can feel pressured and restricted. Values, though will always be our friend. They will infuse our lives with meaning and they will never let us down.

In ACTivate your Life

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it is suggested that we ask ourselves these two questions about our goals:

  1. What purpose is this goal serving?
  2. What will it enable me to do that is meaningful?

The writers say that hopefully this can clarify the purpose for pursuing a goal because sometimes we can become so focused on achieving goals that we lose sight of the purpose.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at differentiating between a value a goal?
  • Has living a goal fixated life caused problems for you?
  • How has living a value driven life made a difference in your life?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

The North Star

VALUES AND GOALS

 

It helps to differentiate a value from a goal,

For they serve a different function and they play a different role,

So a life that’s goal fixated will have different things in store

To a life that’s value driven, that has values at its core.

It is true that goals for many are the order of the day,

“What today can I achieve?” are the first words we often say,

And the list is unforgiving, for as goal fixators know,

There is always more to do when we let goals dictate the show.

And yes, we get a sense of order and a purpose to pursue,

In the goal fixated life there’s always something we can do,

And it can be most rewarding, as achievement often is,

But what happens when we don’t achieve and end up in a tizz?

For some goals are unobtainable, and failures we’ll perceive

When life slaps us in the face and what we want we don’t receive,

Or the disappointments stacking as another goal we miss,

When we buy into the goal driven life we buy into all this.

Which makes a case for putting values at the core of life instead,

For they’ll never disappoint us, they’ll just help us forge ahead

In directions always meaningful, our very own north star,

For though our goals may come and go our values just stay where they are.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “VALUES AND GOALS” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

I am a member of the

ACT Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Community

If you are interested in ACT you will find lots to interest you there and I recommend that you visit often.

Dr Russ Harris has posted a great animated video there about

Values Vs Goals.

I loved it and it inspired this post.  Take a look.  I am sure you will love it too.

Which leads us to the ……

ACTivation Point!

So ……………………….

Just for today

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT. I am on a journey. I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

 

Corinne