Listing Values for Charting your Future

 Breaking Free from Auto-Pilot: Using a Value List

Life is a journey filled with obstacles and choices, and our values can serve as a valuable compass to guide us along the way. However, all too often, we find ourselves on autopilot, unintentionally caught in a trap of escaping, avoiding, or controlling internal processes—memories, negative thoughts, difficult emotions, and stressful situations. This can lead us down a path that isn't fully aligned with our values, resulting in a less satisfying life. The good news is that with the help of value lists and charts, we can regain control of the present and intentionally navigate our future.

The Power of Value Lists:

Creating a list of personal values is an illuminating exercise that allows us to identify what truly matters to us. For instance, family, career, health, and personal growth might be some values you have. A value in this context is who and what is important to you. These values act as a compass, guiding you in moments of choice and challenge where on auto pilot you can escape, avoid, or control but also have the option to do something that aligns with who and what is important. Below you will find Sallys List. This list doesnt have moral values but those can be part of the list and are valuable. You should consider adding some as well such as integrity, if it is a moral value you hold. 

Taking it a Step Further with Charts:

Transforming your list of values into a chart can elevate the impact and help you visualize the path ahead. A value chart can be a visual representation of who and what is important and break it down a  bit better than a list. This can further be used in a ACT Life Map. 

Escaping, Avoiding, and Controlling:

Often, we engage in behaviors like escaping uncomfortable emotions, avoiding challenging situations, or attempting to control everything around us. These actions can lead us away from our true values and leave us feeling unsatisfied and disconnected from our authentic selves.

The ACT Life Map Process:

A Word of Wisdom 

In Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Ok,, there is more context to this verse; however, this verse reminds us of the importance of aligning our actions with what we value. When we chart our life's course based on our true treasures and values, our journey becomes more meaningful and fulfilling.

Sally and John: Two Different Journeys:

Below are two value lists, one for Sally and one for John. While each list reflects their unique values and priorities, let's focus on how Sally uses her value list to guide her actions in a way that aligns with what she truly wants.

Sally's Journey:

Sally, a recently divorced middle-aged woman with one teen left at home, faces moments of deep emotional struggle when memories of her divorce and related negative emotions resurface. In the past, she would have turned to unhealthy coping mechanisms like eating a bucket of ice cream and escaping through television.

However, with her newfound value list, Sally has a powerful tool at her disposal. When faced with these challenging moments, she turns to her list and is reminded of her core values, including self-care, personal growth, and family. She now understands that these values are her guiding lights.

Instead of seeking escape, Sally has learned to move toward something on her values list. When negative emotions surge, she engages in self-care routines, such as mindfulness exercises or taking a long walk with her teen. She immerses herself in personal growth activities that help her process her emotions and gain resilience.

By focusing on her values and using them as her compass, Sally has transformed her coping mechanisms and redirected her energy toward a life that aligns with what she truly wants. She's breaking free from autopilot and navigating her journey with intention and authenticity.

Incorporating value lists and charts into your life can be a transformative process, just as it has been for Sally. It's a journey of self-discovery and personal growth that empowers you to break free from autopilot, regain control of the present, and intentionally navigate your future with authenticity and satisfaction. So, take the time to reflect on your values, create your chart or life map, and embrace the profound impact they can have on your life's path.

Sally's Values and Action Steps: List and Chart

Self-Care and Well-being:

Prioritize my physical and mental health.

Practice self-compassion and self-care routines.

Nurture my emotional well-being through self-reflection.

Maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Seek support and therapy as needed.

Foster a sense of inner peace and contentment.

Family and Parenting:

Provide emotional support and stability for my teen.

Foster open and honest communication with my child.

Balance the responsibilities of single parenthood.

Create a loving and nurturing home environment.

Coordinate co-parenting efforts with my ex-spouse.

Prioritize quality time and shared experiences and make memories.

Personal Growth and Rediscovery:

Explore my own interests and passions.

Rediscover my identity and sense of self.

Embrace new opportunities for personal development.

Reflect on my goals, values, and aspirations.

Cultivate resilience and adaptability.

Find joy in self-discovery and personal growth.

Friendship and Social Connection:

Cultivate supportive and meaningful friendships.

Nurture my existing social connections.

Seek out opportunities for social engagement.

Build a strong support network.

Share experiences and create lasting memories with friends.

Find solace and camaraderie in social circles.

Career and Financial Stability:

Reevaluate my career goals and aspirations.

Seek financial stability and independence.

Explore new career opportunities and growth.

Manage my finances wisely and plan for the future.

Achieve a work-life balance that aligns with my family's needs.

Set financial goals and priorities.

Independence and Self-Empowerment:

Embrace my independence and self-reliance.

Take ownership of my life and decisions.

Set boundaries and assert myself confidently.

Empower myself through education and skill-building.

Celebrate personal achievements and milestones.

Inspire others through my journey of self-empowerment.

Creativity and Self-Expression:

Explore creative outlets and artistic expression.

Nurture my creativity through hobbies and interests.

Use creativity as a means of self-expression.

Share my talents and creations with others.

Find inspiration and joy in creative endeavors.

Use art and expression as a form of healing and self-discovery.

Renewed Relationships and Dating:

Slowly step into the dating world.

Build new connections with like-minded individuals.

Learn from past relationship experiences with relationship counseling.

Embrace love and companionship on my terms.

Time Management and Prioritization:

Prioritize tasks and activities that align with my values.

Find balance between work, parenting, and self-care.

Set realistic expectations and boundaries.

Resilience and Coping Skills:

Seek support and resources for coping with stress.

Build emotional resilience and self-compassion.

Learn and practice healthy coping strategies.

Faith and Spiritual Connection:

Nurture my relationship with God through prayer and reflection.

Actively participate in my church community and spiritual gatherings.

Engage in ministry and volunteer work to serve others.

Find strength, guidance, and purpose in my faith.

Build connections with fellow church members and foster a sense of belonging.

Seek opportunities to grow spiritually and deepen my understanding of my faith.

Now Here is Johns List of Values

1. Family:

Building strong bonds and trust within the family

Celebrating family traditions and creating new ones

Nurturing open and honest communication

Supporting each family member's individual growth and dreams

Showing love and appreciation through actions and words

Prioritizing family time and quality experiences

2. Career:

Setting clear career goals and objectives

Cultivating a positive and collaborative work environment

Seeking opportunities for leadership and mentorship

Balancing work with personal life for well-being

Embracing challenges as opportunities for professional growth

Finding purpose and fulfillment in one's chosen field

3. Hobbies and Interests:

Exploring a diverse range of hobbies and passions

Dedicating time to relaxation and leisure activities

Challenging oneself through new interests and skills

Sharing hobbies with friends and loved ones

Finding inspiration and creativity through interests

Using hobbies as a source of stress relief

4. Travel and Exploration:

Immersing oneself in diverse cultures and cuisines

Seeking adventure and spontaneity in travel experiences

Documenting and preserving travel memories

Promoting sustainable and eco-conscious travel practices

Exploring local destinations and hidden gems

Fostering a sense of curiosity and wonder in travel

5. Personal Growth:

Reflecting on personal values, beliefs, and priorities

Seeking self-awareness through mindfulness and introspection

Embracing life's challenges as opportunities for learning

Committing to continuous self-improvement

Cultivating resilience and adaptability

Finding purpose and meaning in personal development

6. Health and Well-being:

Prioritizing physical fitness and regular exercise

Nourishing the body with a balanced and nutritious diet

Maintaining mental health through stress management

Seeking medical check-ups and preventive care

Promoting self-care and relaxation techniques

Achieving holistic well-being through mind-body balance

7. Relationships and Friendships:

Building deep and meaningful connections with friends

Demonstrating empathy, active listening, and support

Maintaining healthy boundaries in relationships

Resolving conflicts and misunderstandings constructively

Celebrating milestones and shared experiences

Fostering trust and emotional intimacy with loved ones

8. Creativity and Innovation:

Exploring and expressing creativity through various mediums

Encouraging and supporting creative endeavors of others

Embracing failure as a stepping stone to innovation

Collaborating with creative thinkers and artists

Promoting an environment that nurtures creativity

Using creativity as a source of personal fulfillment

9. Financial Stability:

Creating and following a budget for financial planning

Saving and investing wisely for future security

Managing debt and financial responsibilities effectively

Teaching financial literacy to oneself and others

Preparing for unexpected financial challenges

Aligning financial decisions with long-term goals

10. Giving Back and Philanthropy:

- Identifying and supporting causes aligned with personal values

- Volunteering time and skills to make a positive impact

- Donating to charitable organizations and fundraisers

- Raising awareness for social and humanitarian issues

- Mentoring and providing guidance to those in need

- Inspiring others to engage in acts of kindness and philanthropy

11. Accomplishments and Achievements:

- Setting specific and challenging life goals

- Tracking progress toward personal milestones

- Recognizing and celebrating achievements, no matter how small

- Learning from past setbacks and failures

- Seeking opportunities for personal and professional growth

- Embracing a growth mindset for continuous improvement

12. Adventure and Exploration:

- Seeking out new and exciting experiences

- Taking calculated risks and stepping out of one's comfort zone

- Embracing spontaneity and embracing the unknown

- Documenting adventures through journals, photos, or videos

- Encouraging friends and loved ones to join in adventures

- Finding joy and exhilaration in the thrill of exploration

13. Education and Knowledge Sharing:

- Pursuing formal and informal education opportunities

- Expanding one's knowledge in diverse areas of interest

- Mentoring and guiding others in their educational journeys

- Fostering a culture of lifelong learning

- Encouraging critical thinking and intellectual curiosity

- Using knowledge to solve problems and create positive change

14. Environmental Stewardship:

- Adopting sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle choices

- Reducing one's carbon footprint and conserving resources

- Advocating for environmental protection and conservation

- Supporting organizations and initiatives dedicated to the environment

- Educating oneself and others about environmental issues

- Promoting responsible consumption and waste reduction

15. Family Legacy:

- Preserving and passing down family traditions and values

- Creating a sense of unity and cohesion within the family

- Leaving a positive and lasting impact on future generations

- Honoring and respecting family history and heritage

- Serving as a role model for family members

- Encouraging strong bonds and connections among family members