A New Approach

As most of us have returned to some kind of ‘normal’ routine by now it’s a good opportunity to reset and think about the year ahead.  There’s so much out there about new year resolutions isn’t there? However, have you really spent time thinking about how you could create a more vital workable life for yourself?

One approach is developed in  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  The ACT is a Behaviour Therapy and it’s about taking action.   What’s absolutely key here is that the action that you take is based on your values and your goals.

Values and Goals

Let’s look at the difference between values and goals and then think about how they can help you to approach your life in a whole new way.


Time to get a bit serious…. Look deep inside yourself and think about what’s important to you in your life? What do you want to do in your time here on earth? What do you want to stand for?

Values are basically living directions; your very own personal guide to how you want to behave on an ongoing basis. Do you want to be honest, loving, kind, active, open, sensual or disciplined? These are all values.  They are all something you can do on an ongoing basis. What about being caring, sharing, contributing, being a good friend, being creative? These are all values too. I really like the way that Russ Harris in ‘ACT Made Simple’ compares values to a compass because values give us a direction and guide us on our ongoing journey.


“A compass gives you direction and keeps you on track when you’re travelling. Values do the same for the journey of life. We use them to choose the direction in which we want to move and keep us on track as we go” Russ Harris


Nobody can tell you what you should or shouldn’t value!! They are entirely your choice!  Take a look at my diagram below and see if you can pick three or four that really resonate with you….  There are of course a lot more values than the ones I’ve illustrated. Add yours if they’re not on there!


Goals are different to values as you can complete and achieve them. If you have the value of self-care or of being fit and active, then a goal could be to go for a swim twice a week or taking a healthy lunch to work. Goals are about what you want to achieve, or get, or complete.

Being human we can all fail from time to time in our goals but what so empowering about values is that doesn’t mean that you are failing in your value; they persist; they are there every day giving us a direction for a rich and fulfilling life.

A Question……….

So, what would you like to do that will improve your life this year and help you to move in the direction of your values?

To get you started;

Take one of your values; for example, it could be being creative. What could you do more of? What goal could you set that could help you move in the direction of that value? An art class? Digging that sketchbook out of your cupboard and taking yourself off to paint or sketch a landscape? Did you get a colouring book for Christmas that you haven’t opened? An old piece of furniture that needs a coat of paint? The options are endless….  set a goal and get started!


Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher

Hello, I’m Eileen Fisher. I’m an indoor and outdoor therapist and nutritionist. I offer counselling and psychotherapy for both individuals and couples, as well as nutrition advice and support around disordered eating.

Leave a Reply