The Difference Between VALUES and GOALS

VALUES as defined in ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) means: DESIRED QUALITIES OF ACTION. Values are Qualities I want to bring to my actions right now and on an ongoing basis.

How do you want to treat yourself?
Your body?
The World around you?
Your house?
Anyone? Anything?

What are the QUALITIES you want to embody?
What sort of person do you want to be? What kind of father, son, mate, husband, wife, daughter, mother, co-worker, supervisor do you want to be?
What do you want to stand for in life? Model for yourself and others?

VALUES motivate you to do the hard work necessary to achieve your Goals and to make Decisions in order to achieve those Goals.
Usually achieving something that meshes with your Values exposes you to difficulties and challenges.
VALUES inspire and infuse your life with MEANING and PURPOSE.



GOALS are what you want to GET or HAVE, achieve…complete..
VALUES are how you want to BEHAVE every step of the way towards pursuing, achieving, not achieving your goal…

GOOD HEALTH is a GOAL (you can measure achievement or non-achievement)
At times the GOAL may be unattainable (recovery from cancer, illness) but the VALUE of self-care or self-nurture or TAKING CARE of SELF, that is a Value you can pursue while dealing with challenges to the GOAL.

‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ is not a VALUE, that’s a COMMANDMENT.
The value underneath that Commandment is CARE or LOVE for HUMAN LIFE.
You’re probably not talking about VALUES if you cannot say it in one word. LOVING, JUSTICE, FAIRNESS, HONESTY, CREATIVITY, CONNECTION, OPENNESS, ADVENTUROUSNESS…etc

If its lots of words its probably a rule, belief system, judgment of right and wrong…


Hope this helps you!

© 2018 Ross Grossman, MA, LMFT

Categories: psychology

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