Conversation 6: Committed Action

Values & Goals

Values & Goals – a recording of Julian McNally (2:44 min) 

(Values & Goalsby RMIT Counselling and Psychological Services, Six ACT* Conversations, RMIT University is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Exercise 1: Linking Goals to Values

Before you commit to any actions, you need to ensure that

  1. those actions are consistent with your values, and
  2. they progress you towards goals that are consistent with your values.

So here’s your first task for this Conversation: complete this Value & Goals worksheet.

To do this, you take one of the values you identified in Conversation 5, determine a domain of life in which you wish to express that value, and then set goals for various timeframes of your life.

A domain of life is simply an area of life in which you can take action. This could be your career, the community you live in, your family or your physical wellbeing, for example.

It’s important to set goals for the long term timeframe of your lifetime. Doing this provides you with a mission or purpose to your life in the domain you’ve chosen.

Notice if you feel somewhat awkward, pretentious, ashamed, or embarrassed while you’re doing this. Later this conversation, we’ll remind you of how to deal with this, but for now keep in mind that you’re doing this to enhance your life, not someone else’s – so you don’t have to impress anybody or meet other people’s expectations!

As important as having a lifetime goal is, it is even more important to set a goal for today. If you’ve completed Conversation 1: Language creates Conflict you’ll remember that I asked you to name an obstacle or barrier to you achieving a goal, outcome or quality that mattered to you. For many of you, the obstacle could be stated on the worksheet. “If only I didn’t do or have X in my life, then I could achieve or be Y“.

But then as we experienced in Conversation 3: Willingness & Acceptance, you are able to do things when your mind says you cannot.

With the value & goals worksheet, I’m asking you to nominate an action you can take today – or better yet, right this minute – that is consistent with a value that matters to you.

You see, for now, for this moment, you only need to do one thing. In fact, when you look at it in one moment, all you can ever do is just one thing.

A favourite saying of mine that comes from the Tao Te Ching (道德經) by Laozi (老子): “The journey of 1000 miles starts with a single footstep.”

What he forgot to say was “and it continues with another footstep.”

So, you see, you only ever have to take one step at a time.

But the journey will never happen if you don’t take that first one.

And the next one.

And the next.


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