This past year was filled with many changes, some incredibly challenging and others quite exciting. While many of us have likely experienced both of these extremes and many more in between, I think most of us can agree that we were ready for that refreshing feeling associated with the beginning of a new year.
Typically, people often take this time to reflect on the previous year and resolve to make some kind of change in the new year; however, many times resolutions are difficult to initiate and maintain throughout the year. One way to produce meaningful change in your life is to 1) clarify your values, 2) create small goals towards your values, and 3) commit to actively living by your values on a daily basis, despite unhelpful thoughts/emotions that may arise.
Values are like a compass. They can help guide you towards your own unique meaningful life. Values are a direction that you choose to go in based on what you care about most in your life; therefore, there are no “right” or “wrong” values and everyone’s values will be different. They are about action and how you want to “be” and “act” in the world, not how you want to “think” or “feel” on a daily basis. Values are not a destination you want to achieve.
Think about values as yourself wanting to travel west. West is not a place that you can reach; but, you can travel in that direction. From Florida, you can go to Texas, then California, then Hawaii, then Japan, then Spain, etc. and you will continuously be traveling west.
Hence, whether you are prioritizing self-care (e.g., exercise, study breaks, pizza nights), challenging yourself to be more assertive of your needs/wants with others (i.e., “I feel [insert feeling word] when you [insert a specific description of your needs/wants]”), or offering yourself greater compassion (e.g., “I am doing the best that I can in this moment, and that is good enough”), try your best to align your resolutions with the direction of your identified values.
If you find yourself swaying from your values from time to time (or traveling north instead of west), non-judgmentally acknowledge it and guide your intentions/actions back to your valued path.
For example, I personally value connection. However, I am also an introvert, so sometimes talking with people causes me anxiety. Although these thoughts and feelings may arise and I may want to hide out in my room alone, I still choose everyday to live by this value by checking in with friends and family, creating friendships with new people, greeting people at the grocery store, and helping clients in therapy.
For more information on Valued Resolutions, including Values, SMART Goals, and Committed Action, click here.
On behalf of the Student Counseling Center, we wish you a Happy New Year and a successful start to the new semester! If you find yourself in need of additional guidance, please reach out for help! We are your counseling center and here for you in providing a variety of mental health and wellness services to assist you and other students in successfully reaching personal, academic, and career goals. Please take a moment to visit our website to find out more about our services and resources for psychological health and well-being. Be the healthiest Florida Tech Panther you can be!