From ACT Made Simple: An Easy-to-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Imagine your 80th birthday (or 21st or 50th or retirement party, and so on). Two or three people make speeches about what you stand for, what you mean to them, the role you played in their life. In the IDEAL world, where you have lived your life as the person you want to be, what would you hear them saying?
LIFE AND DEATH
a. Imagine your own funeral: imagine what you would like to hear people saying about you.
b. Act out your own funeral--psychodrama style
c. Write your obituary or fill in a blank tombstone.
d. Imagine you somehow know you only have twenty-four hours to live, but you can't tell anyone: who would you visit, and what would you do?
You inherit a fortune. What would you do with it? Who would be there to share those activities or appreciate the things you buy? How would you act toward all those people who share your new life?
EXPLORING YOUR PAIN
a. Pain As Your Ally: What does this pain tell you about what really matters, what you truly care about?
b. Pain as Your Teacher: How can this pain help you to grow or learn or develop new skills and strengths? How can it help you better relate to others?
c. From Worrying to Caring: What do your fears, worries and anxieties show you that you care about? What do they remind you is very important?
What personal strengths and qualities do you already have?
Which new ones would you like to develop? How would you like to apply them?
IF ... THEN ...
If you achieved that goal, then how would you change as a result? What would you do differently from there on? How would you behave differently with friends, family, colleagues, customers, and others?
Imagine I place a mind-reading machine on your head, and I tune it into the mind of someone very important to you, so you can now hear their every thought. As you tune in, they're thinking about YOU, about what you stand for, what your strengths are, what you mean to them, and the role you play in their life. In the IDEAL world, where you have lived your life as the person you want to be, what would you hear them thinking?
a. I wave this magic wand and you have the total approval of everyone on the planet--no matter what you do, they love, respect, and admire you--wether you become a surgeon or a serial killer. What would you then do with your life? How would you treat others?
b. I wave this magic wand, and all these painful thoughts, feelings, and memories no longer have any impact on you. What would you do with your life? What would you start, stop, do more of, or less of? How would you behave differently? If we watched you on a video, what would we see and hear that would show us magic had happened?
What do you really want? What matters to you in the big picture? What do you want to stand for? Is there anything in your life right now that gives you a sense of meaning, purpose, vitality?
THE SWEET SPOT
Vividly recall a rich, "sweet" memory and get in touch with the emotions. What is meaningful about this memory?
What do you disapprove of, or dislike, in the actions of others? How would you act differently, if you were in their shoes?
What important areas of life have you given up or missed out on for lack of willingness?
FORMS AND WORKSHEETS
Valued Living Questionnaire
Valued Actions Inventory
List of Common Values
As a child, what sort of life did you imagine for the future?
Paint, draw, or sculpt your values.
What do you like to do?
Who do you look up to! Who inspires you?
What personal strengths or qualities. do they have that you admire?