Stress Management For Dummies
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Reaching your goals and living by your values is one huge way to live with less stress. Try to spend some time identifying your values and goals, and then look at how you are realizing them.

People have a tremendous ability to hold a set of values they feel are meaningful, yet in their day-to-day lives they can sometimes fail to recognize the importance of those values.

Thus, you may value the notion of spending time with your family yet find yourself, for whatever reason, actually spending very little time interacting with family members, even when you have the chance. The way to avoid this trap is to become more conscious of how exactly you do spend your time, money, and energy.

Goals: Stay on track

This exercise will help you organize much of the material culled from the preceding exercises and also enable you to assess the extent to which you’re actualizing and achieving those goals and values you feel are highly important to you. The following sections take you through this process.

Step 1: Ranking your primary values and goals

In one column on a piece of paper, come up with a ranked list of your top ten values. These values can include more abstract ones (such as honesty and integrity) and more specific goals (spend more time with family, get more involved with the community, and so on).

Step 2: Evaluating your progress

In a second column, rate the extent to which you feel you have achieved or actualized those values and goals listed in the first column. Again, use a simple ten-point scale, where ten indicates “completely” and zero indicates “not at all.”

To help you think of specific goals and values, here are some categories to get you started: Job/Career, Family, Friends, Health, Money, Hobbies, Interests, Travel, and Spirituality.

Make time for your goals

Actualizing your values and reaching your goals require time. And because you’re incredibly busy already, finding time for the more important things in your life may take some planning. You need to schedule your priorities, rather than merely prioritizing your schedule. In other words, start out by determining which activities are more important in your life, and then make the time to do them.

To help you identify those activities, here’s a starter list for you to begin with. For each of the items below, indicate the extent to which each is a priority and exactly how, when, and where you can find or create the time for that priority.

  1. With my kids

  2. With my spouse

  3. With friends

  4. On my job or career

  5. On a hobby or interest

  6. Playing sports

  7. Reading

  8. Keeping in shape

  9. Nurturing my soul

  10. Doing community activities

  11. Traveling

  12. (Add any others you may have)

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Allen Elkin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the director of The Stress Management & Counseling Center in New York City. Nationally known for his expertise in the field of stress and emotional disorders, he has appeared frequently on Today, Good Morning America, and Good Day New York.

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