How Core Values Can Impact Behavior & Achieving Goals

Mental Health Happy Hour Support Group

August 2018 Topic: How core values can impact behavior & achieving goals


How many of you are really good at goal setting and prioritizing your core values?

Often times it's easier to go by our feelings, but that isn't a great strategy if you'd like to make big progress, or even steady progress. Going on what we feel all the time can keep us in a holding pattern. Many struggle with holding pattern that coasts on their successes, and maybe highlights some of the areas where they could improve, but ideally it's not that bad, so improvement doesn't have to be the priority if they are comfortable and doing good things, right? WRONG. This is a bad way to exist because it breeds complacency.

So how do we make better strategies in our goal setting and keep our values hierarchy at the forefront? If they aren’t written down, they aren’t real, so write them down in a place that you see every day. The values hierarchy is an ordered list that helps us make informed, conscious decisions according to what we personally value, which is directly linked to our goals, if we are really serious about achieving them. Here is a list of core values:

·         Authenticity

·         Autonomy

·         Growth

·         Kindness

·         Meaningful Work

·         Love

·         Fun

Once our core values are in place, the goals can follow. In order to stay on top of the forward motion, we need to keep values AND goals at the forefront EVERY DAY. So, here is some great advice:

■ Plan each day, week and month in advance.

■ Plan each month at the beginning of the month.

■ Plan each week the weekend before.

■ Plan each day the evening before.

Below is a list of core values commonly used by leadership institutes and programs. This list is not exhaustive, but it will give you an idea of some common core values (also called personal values). My recommendation is to select less than five core values to focus on—if everything is a core value, then nothing is really a priority.


Core Values List:  (Circle Your Top Core Values)

  • Authenticity
  • Achievement
  • Adventure
  • Authority
  • Autonomy
  • Balance
  • Beauty
  • Boldness
  • Compassion
  • Challenge
  • Citizenship
  • Community
  • Competency
  • Contribution
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Determination
  • Fairness
  • Faith
  • Fame
  • Friendships
  • Fun
  • Growth
  • Happiness
  • Honesty
  • Humor
  • Influence
  • Inner Harmony
  • Justice
  • Kindness
  • Knowledge
  • Leadership
  • Learning
  • Love
  • Loyalty
  • Meaningful Work
  • Openness
  • Optimism
  • Peace
  • Pleasure
  • Poise
  • Popularity
  • Recognition
  • Religion
  • Reputation
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Security
  • Self-Respect
  • Service
  • Spirituality
  • Stability
  • Success
  • Status
  • Trustworthiness
  • Wealth
  • Wisdom

Setting Realistic Goals Benefits Your Mental Health

Having realistic goals benefits your mental health, but many people with depression or other mental illnesses struggle to set goals. Read on to learn about how to make and keep goals that benefit your mental health even if you're living with a mental illness.

Why Do Goals Benefit Your Mental Health?

Goals that benefit your mental health are motivational tools that help you pursue your dreams and give you reasons to stay productive. Sometimes goals are based on responsibilities. For instance, you might set daily or weekly goals to complete assignments for school or projects for work on time.

Realistic Goals Benefit Your Mental Health

The hardest thing about setting goals that benefit your mental health is knowing how to make them realistic. Sometimes, you might think about what others are capable of doing and expect the same (or more) from yourself. So you make unrealistic goals, like completing a 20-page essay in one night or running a marathon in two minutes. Then, when you do not meet your goals, you either stress yourself out even more or you just give up. As a result, setting unrealistic goals damages your motivation, and that damages your mental health. So it is important to remember what your abilities are to set reasonable expectations.

Tips on Goal-Setting that Benefits Your Mental Health

Focus on Short-term Goals on Tough Days

On the days when I am most depressed, my two main goals are to get out of bed and shower. Usually, if I can get out of bed, showering is no problem. After that, I am refreshed for the rest of the day and feel more confident that I can set and attain other goals. However, there are days when getting out of bed and showering are my limits.

Going to Work or School Can be a Goal

For many of those who struggle with both depression and anxiety, going to work can be a goal that benefits your mental health because it helps with the social aspect of life. If you are prone to avoiding people out of fear of what they think of you, work is a place where you are required to interact with others.

While it can feel uncomfortable at times, this is a good thing. It gives you an opportunity to put yourself out there and be more social than you thought you could be. In the end, it could help you build confidence and achieve your goals.

Goals Can Help You Avoid Isolation

Personally, I have not really struggled with going to school or work. But on my days off, getting out of the house can feel difficult. On those days, I make it a goal to at least text a friend so that I am not completely antisocial.

Resource content:



Six Steps to Reaching Your Goal

Step 1: Name It- Identify what your goal is. It must meet the four Goal-Naming Criteria listed below.

o    Personal- Your goal must be important to you.

o    Possible- You have the time, ability, and resources you need.

o    Positive- Your goal is stated as a positive action, “ I will” rather than “I won’t.”

o    Specific- Your goal is measurable so you will know when you have reached it.

Step 2: Picture Yourself- Picture yourself reaching your goal so you know what you are aiming for.

Step 3: Say, “I can”- Use positive self-talk and say, “I can” to boost your confidence.

Step 4: Think How To Do It- Think of what actions you can take to accomplish this goal.

Step 5: Go for it!

Step 6: Celebrate Your Success!


15 Practical Ways on How to..

By: Tatiana Gjergji, Executive Director and Founder of NWR of Albany, Inc.

It isn’t easy to get your shit together but in reality, you need to get your life before life gets you.  The older I get the more I am starting to realize that people, especially those older than me, don’t know what they are doing with their lives even though they seem like they do from their social media account portrayals. You can take that as either a horrifying opinion or reassuring.  I noticed that it was time that I needed to get my shit together when I realized that I was in the bath tub, fully clothed and sobbing from internalizing my father’s substance and alcohol disorder and other crap that brought me deep down into anxiety and depression.

Yeah, I apologized in my first blog post that this isn’t your ordinary blog, shit is going to get real. I feel like I need to be upfront about some of my life experiences because out there in our cruel, cold, closed-minded world, there is someone out there that probably is or went through the same thing I have. So, as I get my life by seeing a professional therapist, working at a job that I enjoy being apart of, building my own empire of my newly developed nonprofit community resource center (NWR), in a loving and supportive relationship, I still need structure and guidance on how to maintain getting my life together. Through coping strategies, grounding exercises and keeping an open-mind I am on the path to getting my entire life.

It isn’t easy to get your life and to be real, it will never completely together. However, that is not to say that you can’t still look and feel like you have got your entire life. So, here are some “real” ways to get your entire life, or seem like you got it all going on.

Get Organized

Whether you are the person who likes to write in a planner, calendar, and Google calendar or using an app on your phone, it is easier and beneficial to you to put it to good us.  Write down due dates, meetings, appointments, birthdays and/or special events, bill deadlines and etc. These visuals help you get your life in order and set out the map as to what to look forward to. Write it all out- Write down a to do list and start to plan out what you need to get down in the 7 days that make a week. You don’t have to take care of things all at once, plan it out by settling things one step in the right direction. Visuals are key to understanding and prepping yourself for future plans, obligations, and expectations.


De-Clutter It All

Stop buying shit that you don’t need!!! Throw shit that you don’t need out!!!! This goes to your car, office, whole entire apartment/house, and don’t forget your email inbox. Clutter in your physical environment and relationships energetically block the flow of abundance, getting in the way of the success we are reaching for, sounds contradicting but nevertheless facts. When we have clutter and unwanted stuff in our lives, there isn't room for the abundance we need. We want more money, nicer clothes, more delicious food, yet all we have is lots of mediocre, old, unused crap taking up our precious space.  This applies to our mental and emotional environments as well. Often we hold onto resentment and deny forgiveness, then wonder why it's so challenging to feel grateful and truly appreciate the things we have that matter. When I de-cluttered my bedroom and closet, it made me feel like I was starting fresh and getting rid of the bullshit that I don’t need, it also looks really nice to have a clean, neat bedroom and closet (that didn’t last long, but still working on it).


Reflect on the Shit you Need to Take Care Of

 I am one to know that life can be overwhelming at times but it makes it easier in the long run to reflect on what you need to tweek, change or adjust. Whether it being your bills, college, relationships, friends, work, exercise, your health, cleaning the house/laundry, and etc. it all needs to be given attention to and get done. Also, keep in mind to not only reflect on what you need to do but on what you have already achieved and happiness in your life. Remember, that your life is more together than you really think it is, so give yourself credit! For instance, this goes back to when I thought most adults who were older than me have their shit together. I am learning that at my age, even though I am not yet married, or have children, I have graduated college, am focusing on my own happiness and passion in life, and have started my own nonprofit, so in most cases, I am getting it together more than I give myself credit for.


Self-Awareness & Your Identity


 DO NOT let life place you or make you into the person you don’t want to be! Put your phone down, FOR ONCE, and stop and look inward. What is your identity, what do you like and dislike; start sculpting yourself into the person you want to be that makes you happy and full! This sounds so cliché in a self-help world that we live in now but this is really important for our human experience. By understanding what makes you happy and content can be the hardest thing to warp your head around. If you honestly feel unhappy and feel like your life is out of your control, ask yourself “What will make me happy?” Be truthful and honest with yourself so you can help yourself focus on the positive aspects of life and start to GET YOUR LIFE!!! Also consider what your core values are: honesty, compassion, love, acceptance, forgiveness, dedication, hard work and etc.


Boundaries: Not Walls Up

I am all about this life! For real, setting boundaries with family members, coworkers and friends have really helped me socially, emotionally and mentally. People don’t need to hear my life story and struggles. I don’t need to talk about every aspect of my life and views on life with a family member who I know might be a little closed-minded to my point of view and decisions I have made in my life. I don’t need to say yes to every occasional hang out or bar hopping scenario on someone’s birthday. Allow yourself to set boundaries with people, its okay! You are not obligated to do most of the things you think you are obligated to do, especially when it comes to toxic people and situations.  Start by: Naming your limits, Tune into your feelings, Be direct, Give yourself permission, Practice self-awareness, Consider your past and present, Make self-care a priority, Seek support, Be assertive and Start small.


To All You Procrastinators Out There..Stop

 Did you know that there are five types of procrastinators? Well, now you know.

Busy Bee- This is the person that always says they are super busy to commit to their tasks, however, what they are doing is taking on the easier stuff so they don’t have to deal with whatever it is they’re procrastinating over. These people need to tackle the harder stuff in shifts. For example, when doing your taxes, work 10-15 minutes and then take interval breaks to ease stress and increase success.

Deflector- This person often avoids tasks based on fear of failure. I find this most common, like who wants try hard to achieve a goal and then end up fucking it all up? You might observe that these people are quick to blame others due to their lack of accomplishments and dealing with the fear. Sorry to break it to you but there are no shortcuts to success, so just stop and think about what the task is at hand and focus on what the best way to resolve it. With that said, it is possible to take responsibility without putting so much pressure on yourself. Perfect is an illusion and not reality.

Excuses, Excuses-  this person accepts the problem but doesn’t really do anything about it. “I’m too old,” “I’m too fat,” is not going to get you anywhere and is not the best outlook of yourself. So, there needs to be an installation of reinforcements and positive outlook on the situation you are dealt with. Try this mantra, “I can and I will” every day and believe in yourself!

Dreamer- This reminds me of children, most children are quick to act and don’t realize the consequences that come from the choices that they make. It’s important to understand the negative outcome of not completing a task. For instance, if you don’t pay your taxes, you could go to jail or if you don’t de-clutter your surroundings, you will lose shit, get frustrated and run out of room for things. So, think about the positive outcomes of completing tasks and how close you will get to achieve your goals.

Crisis Maker- I know a few people who say that they work best under pressure, but do they really put their full effort and potential into it? Probably not. This type of procrastinator is forever stressing primarily because they are not using their time and resources wisely. Organizational tasks such as chores, work deadlines, bills piling up are overwhelming when tackled all at the same time or in a rush. When tasks are taken care gradually they are manageable; you are not as stressed out, and you are more prepared financially, mentally, socially and physically. A great technique that I have learned is lying to yourself about deadlines. Yup, I said it. Set your personal deadlines for a couple of days in advance (before the official deadline) and work towards it instead of in the last minute.



 Do you ever feel relieved when you pay your bills? Bills suck but they’re inevitable to one’s modern lifestyle and there is no way around them, unless you want to develop terrible credit where you can’t have anything under your name, such as a house, car, property, and etc. Trust me, I am still overcoming the deep sorrows of bad credit and it takes a lot out of you financially, socially, and psychologically. When you finally have financial peace of mind there is room for growth and fun! If you are inconsistent with paying bills, try signing up for automatic pay or even lying to yourself about the whole deadline to get ahead of the game. I feel like money comes and goes each day but my goal is to be financially stable so I don’t have to worry, stress or scramble for change to just live.


 Ever since I was a young girl, my dad always emphasized the importance of three essential life focuses: health, honor and education. Without your health, you cannot help others, travel, be the person you were born to evolve into and etc. Get a checkup once in a while, especially your annual physical from your primary doctor and if you don’t have health insurance, which is one fucked up thing in this country that should be a right as a citizen alongside with voting (shaking my head), see if you can get Medicaid or an alternative plan. Try to eliminate sugar intake, reduce and/or eliminate alcohol/drug consumption, put down the coffee if you drink more than 1-2 cups a day, sleep more than 5-6 hours and drink more water!! Trust me, you will feel more alive and have more energy than you think. Give up those unhealthy vices that are damaging your health. I understand that most habits are hard to break but trying changing gradually so you don’t have room to fail and get discouraged.



Make a list of people who you need to forgive, thank, apologize, and just say hello to. At the end of the day, are you going to rest your head knowing that you have regrets? Call your parents, your grandparents, and friends and just say hello, how is your day? Don’t only tell them that you love and care for them but show them (actions DO speak louder than words). “I want to be alone forever and don’t care about anything” said no one that was sober and really thought of the reality of what they just said. Humans are social beings. We want to love and give love, we want to share what happened to us during the weekend to our co-workers, give hugs to those who are suffering, smile back at someone who smiles at you and etc. Just like a relationship, it is 50/50. Phones calls can be received and made. No excuses.



Pick a desirable destination, determine costs, start a savings account specifically for this trip, set a date and gooooooooo! Stay curious, see the world, explore different cultures, peoples, languages, foods, beaches, music, dances and etc.!!!!!



Spirituality is a broad subject and can mean different things to people’s perspectives and human experiences. It can be defined as finding meaning and purpose in one’s life by patterns of daily prayer to a higher being, meditation and/or daily walks outside.  As our brain processes sensory experiences, we naturally seek out patterns and try to understand their meaning. As we ask big questions, the instinct seems wired in our minds. For instance, I have found my own spirituality without practicing a specific religion and have found where I want to be, what I want to focus on to enhance my inner growth and peace in my own experience of life.



 I am not stating to give up and surrender your dreams and hopes! I am advising for you to let shit go that you cannot change. Things happen to us that are out of our control, so since you cannot change or fix it, let that shit go! Push it out of your platform, out of your way of thinking and focus on things you can change. Past events are beyond our control so learn from past mistakes but don’t dwell on them; you cannot successfully move your life forward if you keep looking back. Even when it comes to people that are toxic, negative, close-minded and narcissistic, YOU CANNOT CHANGE THEM!!  Don’t obsess over what other people do, however, talk to them about how they might have hurt your feelings or even state your boundaries/limits and just let it go.


Reacting vs. Responding

 A wonderful technique that I learned from my therapist is responding versus reacting to others who beat me down, tell me what to do, one-up me and all that bullshit. If someone has an opinion of you or shuts you down, that is their business and has NOTHING to do with you; that is why setting boundaries is so important.

Let me just vent: in every area of life throughout your community/world, someone is going to disagree or criticize you…but no one and their opinion about you matters…what YOU want for YOUR OWN LIFE matters!.. You cannot make everyone happy and you cannot give them credence.. The best defense/revenge for individuals who are judging you and criticizing you is INDIFFERENCE & COMPASSION…the day you realize that someone else’s opinion of you is entirely THEIR business, then YOU ARE FREE!! Sorry, I am not sorry! I had to splurge and tell you that, this is what I even tell the students (2-6th graders) that I teach at my day job. But I digress, knowing what responding and reacting is, the differences and outcomes of them is important and helpful to know when you interact with people.  

Reacting is an instant act that is driven by the beliefs, biases, and prejudices of the unconscious mind (when you say/do without thinking). Reacting is presented in the moment and is not throughout to consider what the long-term effects might be.  This is survival-oriented and is somewhat a defense mechanism for many individuals that don’t know any better than acting out through emotions rather than thinking things through and being considerate to others and the situation presented.

Responding is based on information from both the conscious and unconscious mind that is more ecological, meaning that it takes into consideration the wellbeing of not only you but those around you. Responding to others weighs the long-term effects and stays in line with your core values. I find that when I am about to respond to others, I experience an outer body experience where I am seeing from another perspective what is happening and what is the best/right way to handle it for myself and the other person I am interacting with.



Well, I hope this gets you on the right track into getting your entire life. It isn’t easy but just remember that we are all on this Earth just trying to make the best out of the life we are given and of course GETTING OUR ENTIRE LIFE!

Please comment and/or send email with questions, ideas, stories and struggles.