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Values-based goal setting

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

As they form an integral part of our platform, it's important for us to take a closer look at values, what they mean and how they relate to goal setting. This article will explore these points in order to establish a solid foundation for one of the core concepts of youHQ.

What are 'values'?

The term 'values' has a wide variety of meanings and is used in various settings. In wellbeing, and for our purposes, we think of 'values' as 'personal qualities we aspire to and wish to cultivate'. It is how we want to behave as people, and how we wish to relate to others, to ourselves and the world around us.

These values aren’t plucked from thin air or bestowed upon us by others. We purposefully, and with commitment, choose these values as markers of how we wish to live our lives. They act as our compass in guiding how we wish to behave on a daily basis.

We may see these values modelled in others. Alternatively, we may see them in fictional characters, or embodied in the ones around us. This isn’t about emulating one person completely, but choosing the characteristics that most resonate with us.

As an example, two values that I have found resonate most with me over the years are compassion and integrity. I will never complete either of these, nor will I finish aspiring to embody these qualities. I may wander off course from these values, and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean I have failed. In recognising that I am moving away from them, I develop the opportunity to steer true again. This may and probably will happen many times over the years, and these values may be superseded by other values at different times in my life. All of this is part of my own personal development. We all have our own story of personal development.

There are hundreds of potential values, many of which we may feel drawn to. However, it would be unrealistic to chart our progress and monitor our daily behaviour with so many. We may identify a handful of values that most represent how we wish to live, how we wish to be remembered, and these should be the focus of our efforts.

Value-based goal setting

So how do we know if we’re on track with our values if we never end up finishing them? Values are a part of a life journey, not a destination. Whilst the value acts as the compass point, the goals aligned to these values form way markers that help us stay on track. These can form smaller daily habit-based goals, or medium-term and longer-term goals.

As an example, I will think back to my earlier choice of compassion as a value. A daily goal that forms part of a daily habit may be to display compassion to each of the clients I see in my role as a psychologist. There may be very specific markers that would form a demonstration of compassion, and this may be very different for different people. Once developed using the SMART method of setting goals, these markers can form part of my intentional daily expression and acting towards this particular value.

In reflecting on these and other moments aligned to my values, I can develop a contentment and satisfaction that I am living true to myself and how I wish to engage with others.

If I were to consistently struggle to achieve these or other goals, this provides me with an opportunity to review them, to assess whether they fit with the particular value I am aspiring towards, and to try to break down any barriers that prevent me from achieving this. By not completing these goals, we aren’t failing them. We simply have to refine them to make them more achievable or dedicate more energy/effort/resource to their completion if the particular value remains important to us.

Keeping track of these values and goals can be difficult, which is why we have developed our bespoke software to help maximise the potential for students to achieve their ambitions and goals.

youHQ can help secondary schools empower their pupils to live rich and fulfilling lives that are determined by them and evolve with their own development. youHQ can also help teachers track and monitor student wellbeing and mood as we continue through the pandemic and beyond. Find out more here.

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