If you’re reading this blog, chances are you are at least kind of considering some healthy changes in your life. You might not be 100% all in, and that’s ok – you’re still very much welcome here! Or maybe you’re not as interested in change, but…
- You’re exhausted.
- The sunlight makes you scream, because you are spending too much time in a windowless office.
- Your doctor has told you to get with it.
- It’s been months since you wore pants with a zipper and no elastic.
There is no one, good way to motivate yourself to get into shape. Everyone has their own “why.” In some people, it is screaming loud and clear. For others, it’s a whisper. For still others, it’s your BFF. But what if you don’t even have a clue as to what your “why” is?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) calls this process values clarification. Values tend to be relatively stable and don’t really change. Some questions you might want to ask yourself as you identify your values are (links to original documents provided where I can):
- What do you like to do? What strengths do you have in terms of health, fitness, and wellness, and which ones would you like to develop? Are there things you already do that you could step up? What really matters to you, and how would that be affected if you were healthier?
- You’ve inherited a million dollars. What would you spend it on? If you achieved your desired health and wellness, how would that change your life? Who inspires you in terms of fitness?
- How would being healthier affect your relationships with family and friends? Your work? The hobbies you choose? Your (ahem) intimate moments with your partner? Your parenting and relationships with your children?
These are things you can talk out with a trusted friend/counselor. Many people find value (no pun intended) in journaling about these questions and putting the answers in writing. I have my work core values both on my wall at work as well as in the notebook I use for jotting ideas and such.
If you like something a little more structured, you can Google “ACT Values Clarification.” An example of a worksheet is the Valued Living Questionnaire, which I have used successfully in helping my clients with problem behavior identify where they want to improve. There are many others out there, but whatever you choose, figuring out where you are and where you want to be is an ideal first step in getting healthy.
I think some of the results might surprise you.