By: Sapna Doshi, Ph.D.
It’s around this time of year that people begin to want to define resolutions to work on in 2019. It’s a great time to reflect and I encourage thinking about resolutions in the context of values.
In Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, we think about values as a general direction you want to be moving in in a specific domain of life. You can think about values as a compass. Imagine you’re traveling east. You don’t ever “arrive east.” There’s no end point when it comes to values. It’s a general direction you’re always trying to move in.
I like thinking about values because it offers a lot of flexibility in how you go about living life in line with your values. There’s no hard and fast goal to accomplish which helps with the feeling of failure that often comes with creating resolutions. For instance, if your value is to live a healthy lifestyle, there are a plethora of ways in which you can live a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t mean that in 2019, you have to always exercise 4 days a week. One day, you might go for a walk. Another day, you might make a home-cooked meal. Another day, you might share your feelings with a loved one. All of this is in line with living a healthy lifestyle. There’s less room for “failure” when you consider the many different ways you can live your life according to your values vs. creating resolutions that are overly specific.
Consider your values in the domains below. Ask yourself the following questions: What qualities would I like to bring to these areas of my life? How do I want to embody these values? Who do I want to be in this part of my life? Remember, you don’t want to list something that you can do once, check off your list, and never have to do again. Values should be something we’re constantly working towards. For instance, a value wouldn’t be, “I want to get married.” That’s something you could do once and never have to do again. Instead, a value might be something like, “I want to be a compassionate or supportive partner.” That is something you’d be striving to do on a regular basis.
Value Domains (Some may not apply and that’s OK):
Family Relations (Other Than Intimate Relations or Parenting)
Education/Training/Personal Growth & Development
Rather than setting up very specific goals for yourself, let yourself be flexible in the ways in which you connect with these values and practice living them on a day-to-day basis.
Weight Loss Resolutions
Just a quick note about weight loss related resolutions. This is one of the most popular resolutions every year. I just want to encourage our readers to think about health and to think about it holistically. The number on the scale going down isn’t necessarily equivalent to good physical or mental health.
Think about your relationship with food, the way you speak to yourself about your body, your ability to enjoy food, how connected you are with hunger/fullness cues, your enjoyment of food, understanding how food makes you feel physically, and moving your body in ways that you find fulfilling.
The dieting and weight loss industry is a billion dollar industry that isn’t always looking out for your best interest. If you want help with figuring out how to make peace with food and your body without going on another fad diet, please contact us! We’d love to help you!!