HOW DOES EXERCISE FIT WITH YOUR VALUES?
If you are striving to make exercise and fitness a part of your lifestyle, you will certainly want to read this post about values and exercise! Connecting to your values and how they are intertwined with your fitness routine or goals will make it much easier to stick with fitness and all that fitness means in your life.
WHAT ARE VALUES?
Values are directions that you want to go in life. They are unique to the person, so your values are likely a bit or maybe a lot different from my values or from your loved ones' values. As humans, we can easily get on autopilot and fail to take the time to ask ourselves "am I living a valued life?" And by that I mean a life consistent with your values! We often feel the most at peace with ourselves and with our lives when we are living according to our values.
Values - both identification of your values and living out your values - guide the type of psychotherapy I do which is called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It's all about helping you get on the path that you want to be on and working with you to perhaps learn new skills and ways of approaching the "stuff" that gets in the way of being or staying on that path. That "stuff" could be unwanted and distressing thoughts, uncomfortable emotions, and/or destructive behaviors. Staying connected to your values helps you to feel empowered and motivated. And that includes feeling empowered and motivated for fitness!
WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES?
It's not always easy, though, to determine what your values are. And they likely change a bit over time as you also evolve and grow. It can be difficult to identify your personal values from the values that you have been told over time that you "should" have. A note on that: it's also important to separate values from morals. Values are chosen life directions and morals are more like codes or principles that come from outside of you (think other people, society, religion).
So, what are some of your values that connect with exercise and fitness? If you would like specific worksheets to use that can facilitate your values discovery, you can visit my previous blog post on values.
Let me give you some examples about how exercise might fit with values. Perhaps you engage in a regular exercise routine because you value self-care. You know that your relationship with yourself is important and when you don’t attend to it, your relationships with others suffer. Perhaps you exercise as a way to be healthier longer in your body and live longer. This could be motivated by a value around family (perhaps you want to be able to be present and active with grandchildren). Or perhaps you value exercise as a way to facilitate a healthy sex life with your partner whom you care a lot about. There are no “right” or “wrong” values that motivate exercise; the key is that you are connected to what brings you fulfillment!