07 Jan Value Driven Goals
Every year it’s the same pattern. As soon as January rolls in, people are talking and posting all over social media how much they are looking forward to a new year. Along with the anticipation of a new year comes a host of New Year’s resolutions, many of which include some form of health-related behaviour. Whether that be to stop smoking, eat healthier, loose weight or be more active. Unfortunately, just a few months or even weeks into the year, many struggle to keep up with their goals.
Why does this happen? According to the author of “The Happiness Trap” Russ Harris, we can assess our lack of success using the acronym FEAR.
F – Fusion (things our mind tells us that we get hung up on)
E – Excessive Goals (your goal is too big, or you lack the skills or resources)
A – Avoiding Discomfort (unwillingness to make room for the discomfort the challenge brings
R – Remoteness with Values (forgetting what is important and meaningful about this)
The one that stands out to me the most is remoteness with values. Basically, it means that unless a goal is meaningful to us, we are not likely to remain committed to it. Too often when it comes to health-related behaviours, we try to change because of what other people tell us. Society sends us many messages about what we should look like, or we compare ourselves to others who have different underlying values than us.
I am not saying that setting goals around health behaviours is wrong, but that we need to understand them differently. Maybe it means first learning to accept ourselves as we are. Knowing our value as a human being is fixed and that changing your size or shape will not change how you feel about your worth, you must first value yourself. Perhaps you are able to stop focusing on the mirror, the size of your clothes, or the number on the scale and start enjoying the values you are contributing to the world. For example, maybe you want to be able to spend more time playing and keeping up with your kids. Or maybe you want to live a life of adventure and not be held back by your physical limitations. Maybe you just want to be kind to others and the first step is being kind to yourself.
Although I have always been an active person, I set a goal for myself to run outside more often. Running is more than just exercise for me, I see it as a way I can connect more spiritually with nature and God and also as an opportunity to connect with friends who run too. I also know I feel more energy to keep up with all my responsibilities and an increased ability to focus. How can you view your goals differently? If you are currently struggling to reach your goals, I encourage you to try this and see what happens.
Harris, R. (2007). The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications Inc.