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Resolutions, Values, and Relationships: Some ideas to consider

We're 5 days into January. How are you doing with your New Year's resolutions? If it's been tough so far to follow-through on them...don't be discouraged. Today is a brand new day to begin anew.

For today's post, let's take a more practical look at values identification. It goes without saying that the process of identifying one's values, or values work, is tough stuff. Even when we begin to think about what kind of person we want to be or what kind of parent, friend, or neighbor we want to be, the mind is going to throw out judgments ("You really think that if you are that kind of person, he still will want to stay with you?") and painful feelings. Such judgments of the mind and painful feelings can be an obstacle to even beginning this reflective work. However, as deep and difficult as this work may be, a simple beginning--without over-thinking--can be a great start.

To help with this, here's an example of a simple beginning, not-over-thought, values questionnaire.

This is an excerpt taken from Couple Skills by Mckay, Fanning, and Paleg (2006) of a hypothetical client, Len, who has filled out his values questionnaire. Notice how his answers are brief, and still provide direction for goal and resolution ideas.

1) What kind of person you you want to be in your relationship? How do you want to treat your partner?

I want to be a kind person. I want to notice and validate my wife's needs, even if I can't always meet them.

2) What kind of parent do you want to be?

I want to be a calm and tender father, someone who's caring. I want to be a healthy model to my kids, not someone who's whacked out and angry a lot.

3) Are there things you now want to learn, training or skills you want to acquire?

I want to learn better parenting skills and also be a better financial planner.

4) What kind of friend do you want to be? Are there ways you could be a better friend or be closer to your friends?

I want to be a better support to my friend Bill, who has prostate cancer; spend more time with him, call him and check in more often.

5) How do you want to take care of your body (exercise, diet, sleep, and so on.) ?

I want to be soccer again and do enough treadmill to be in shape to compete.

6) What are things beyond your own life that inspire you, that are spiritually meaningful or healing?

I want some purpose other than my own self; I want to be thinking more about the people I love.


Now that you have an idea--try it out yourself. Here's a few more questions to consider as well:


7) How do you interact with your family? What kind of son/daughter, sister/brother do you want to be?

8) Are there things you want to do to make your community (or world better)?

9) What recreations would you like to pursue that might give you a sense of calm, peacefulness, or vitality?

10) What kind of worker do you want to be? What do you want your work (career) to accomplish?