How can my values help me with my goals?

Published 18 April, 2024

We talk about SMART goals a lot on our programmes, but how can we make sure our goals fit into our routine and we actually enjoy working towards them?

This is where values come in! You might have heard of SMART goals but have you thought about your values?

Values are the things that are most important to us in life.

‘What makes you get up in the morning?’

‘What makes a day enjoyable and worthwhile?’

‘Values are usually the things we care about most and are likely to miss the most if we can’t follow them’.

Here are some of the things that can be important values for people. Maybe these things also sound meaningful to you, or maybe you can think of something else that isn’t here?

Of course, values can change over time – what might be important to you when you are young might be very different from the things that are important to you as you get older and possibly have a family of your own or more responsibilities. But try never to forget those things that are meaningful and important or else life can seem boring and you may feel ‘stuck’. If life has seemed a bit like that for you recently, maybe you have forgotten those really important values – is there something new or different you might try – a long forgotten hobby or past time? Maybe a skill you have not practised much recently? With the Covid 19 pandemic you might not have been able to explore your values in quite the same way as before, and that might partly explain why you have been feeling down or fed up. All the more reason to think about those values and what is most important for you at present. Try thinking about what you can do, not what you can’t do.

So what does this have to do with Goals?

If you link your goals to your values you will have a much greater chance of achieving them. You are more likely to set a goal linked to something you want to do, and you are more likely to enjoy working towards it and sticking with it.

Many people make a goal related to activity like ‘walk 5,000 steps a day’. But if that goal is just there without a meaning behind it, it quickly becomes quite time consuming and you might start to think ‘why am I walking round the park multiple times?’ You might give up when the weather turns cold or you’ve got an extra busy day. But if your goal is built around your values, for example ‘to stay fit and active, to enjoy time with my grandchildren’ your goal might become ‘to walk 2500 steps to pick up my grandchildren from school regularly’. Or if your value is ‘to express myself in art or creativity’ your goal might be ‘to do a dance class once a week’ (if you’re not ready to go to one face to face yet you’ll find loads online), or ‘to build up a set of photos as you see the seasons change on your walk in the park’. Suddenly your goal and your walks have a purpose and a meaning behind them. Next time it turns cold it won’t seem such a chore.

So, before you set your next SMART goal ask yourself: what is important? how can my lifestyle change, or my health change, be integrated into my goal? This will mean it is all linked and not something extra you have to think about! It’ll be more fun, there’s more chance your goal will fit into your life rather than you have to fit your life around your goal, and there’s much more chance you will gain from it! You may even rediscover a long-forgotten activity or new friends along the way.

Good luck and let us know in the comments what values will be driving your goals?

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