Saturday, January 16, 2021

Teaching our patients to be more value focused rather than too much goal focused

Have you ever seen patients who are very goal orientated and as a result, have excessive stress and strain?

They create a goal.
Stress and strain to get to that goal. Achieve that.
Then create a new goal.
Then stress and strain again.
Tell themselves it’s worth it.
This is the price we pay.
Achieve that.
Then create a new goal.
Then stress and strain again....

So most of life is “stressing and straining”.

As Doctors and “high achievers”, we may be able to relate to this ourselves.

If imbalanced, this may cause unnecessary pain and unhappiness, along with many biopsychosocial problems.

So what is the alternative if we run into trouble?

Consider being more “value” focused rather than too much “goal” focus. It’s a balance of course.

Look at our goals. See what value/values it represent and consider focusing on those.

For example, if one focuses on the values around courage, productivity, helpfulness, growth, integrity, and compassion for self and others, and take committed actions towards those, then imagine how many goals we can reach as a byproduct from simply following those, with less fear and anxiety.

Goals are often more “high resolution”. Very clear, but when the specifics are not achieved exactly, the mind will pick it up as a “failure”. 

Whereas, “values” are much more “lower resolution” and “global”, so that even if we can’t meet the specifics, we are still achieving the “essence” of it. 

The irony is, the specific goals can still be achieved with this mindset over time.  As previously mentioned, one can focus on the values around growth and learning, and many things will be achieved whether intentional or not as a byproduct.

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