Monday, May 27, 2013

Values, Roles, and Goals, Part 1

Before you get in your car, it's almost always best to know where you are going. Knowing how to get there helps, (of course there's always the GPS or the dreaded "stop and ask for directions,) but knowing where you want to end up is crucial. Otherwise, all you're doing is burning gas and spinning your wheels. Wellness is like that. If you have a goal in mind, you can always find your way, or find someone to point you in the right direction. Otherwise, all you're doing is sweating.

So, how to pick a goal? The first and most important step is to ask youself, "What is important to me?" If you don't know what your values are, what matters to you, then you will never be able to chose a goal that points you in the direction you want to go. Your values are your compass.

So, what are your values? Here's one way to find out. Start with a list of the things you value the most. Mine might look like this:

  • God
  • Family
  • Service
  • Fitness
  • Writing
  • Learning
  • Financial security
  • Hospitality
Next, find your priorities. Put your list in order of the things you think are most important.
  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Fitness
  4. Service
  5. Financial Security
  6. Hospitality
  7. Learning
  8. Writing
Now here's the hard part, and the one that requires a lot of honesty. Where do you spend most of your time? What gets most of your energy? Here's the same list, only ranked by my actual personal investment in each.

  1. Fitness (3)
  2. Service (4)
  3. Writing (8)
  4. Learning (7)
  5. Finances (5)
  6. Family (2)
  7. God (1)
  8. Hospitality (6)
A little out of whack, isn't it? Integrity is when your life and your values are consistent with one another. Looks like mine could use a little polishing.

Fitness is the physical ability to do the things you want to do. Wellness is something bigger. Wellness is getting you mind, body, and spirit firing on all cylinders. Before you even think about exercising, it's worth taking a look at your life as a whole, and seeing just how fitness fits into your wellness program. 

What does my second list say? Looks like this client is using exercise to avoid other, more difficult things. He says he values God and Family above everything else, but he spends less time on them than nearly anything. His pursuits take him inside himself, or outside the house. Looks like the man has some adjusting to do or exercise just might become counter-productive for him: a way to hide from other important parts of his life. 

Next time, we'll look at a way this fellow might use to bring his life back into alignment with his values. Only then will he be able to set goals that contribute meaningfully to his overall wellness.


Eat clean. Run hard. Lift heavy. Sleep well.

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