Updated: Oct 4, 2021
When you get started with our staff, we want to know what matters to you. Once we know what is important in your life, we can help you better hone in on small specific tasks and habits which will lead to better lifestyle, health and performance goals. The problem is when we ask most clients or athletes what their values are… they don’t know.
That’s ok! We can work on that and help you figure out what you value most with some simple drills like this one.
A lot of times our clients know what they value, but not how to communicate it. The point of these drills is to help you bring your values to the forefront and see them with clarity. When you write them down as you go through these drills you allow yourself to truly sift through your entire life. If done well with good introspection, most people find what truly shapes them and drives their actions, thoughts, and life.
This is nutrition coaching… why the hell do my values matter? I value being leaner, more fit, and being a better athlete!
You’re right… it’s different for sure to have someone, specifically a group of dietitians and coaches, want to know what you value in life. We do it because we recognize that the psychology behind health is extremely important and that simple drills like Notice and Name, only work if the person doing that drill has learned why they are having those emotions and thoughts and how to respond to them. Values Based Actions (VBA) will teach a person how to lean on their values and their “why” to help them reach their goals because they realize emotions are passing unimportant things and following your values can be your true north. Our goal is to equip and empower the individual with an understanding of their values and how to act based on those. Our athletes who have implemented this have unlocked new sets of habits and long-term growth they have never known.
Tell me more about VBA…
Values Based Actions is a component of therapy that allows clients to gain awareness of their choices when emotions trigger their actions. When used properly and the person becomes aware of their reasoning and what is driving their actions, the client can slowly start to choose VBA’s over actions driven by emotions and urges.
How does it work?
When you’ve realized you aren’t hungry and you are responding to an emotional trigger, you step back and say now what? Well we certainly don’t want to rely on will power, as we talked about in habit building, this is not how the best results are made because there is only so much a person can put off before giving in. So now we step back and we think about how we are going to react. A few things that we recommend are “emotion surfing” and “mindful acceptance.”
Let’s pretend you are in a place where you become emotionally triggered to overeat. A great example we hear all the time, and perfect timing as I write this article in the middle of December, is family gatherings, specifically the holiday season. You walk into your family’s house, wearing your ugly sweater of course, you can already smell the baked goods and see your cousins, uncles, and aunts already drinking alcohol… oh boy.
Thankfully you’ve already gone through your VBA worksheet and goals worksheets so you know what you want to accomplish and what values matter to you. As you put down the potluck meal you brought, hand off the presents, and hug the ones you love, you are already thinking about what you will do that day. You are thinking about some of the values you wrote down and which ones apply to this situation. Here are some potential examples:
Value: Self-love and accepting that I don’t need to eat perfect every day and can eat intuitively
Action: You enjoy your foods but work to limit portions by having fewer pieces of your favorite pie (lemon merengue please!)
Value: Being healthy and fit for my family
Action: Deciding what food I will and will NOT have and how to portion my day to still work towards my goals while enjoying my family and the special day
Value: Feeling good and not taking in foods that will make me feel bad for days to come
Action: Having only 1-2 cups of eggnog this year to limit your hangover and stomach issues.
These are all values you have decided are important to you and you are basing your actions on them. Each of these values is important and they will vary by person. There are hundreds more examples where a person can decide to make improvements each day by simply trying to follow not what their emotions trigger, but what is important to them.
This is a very brief overview of VBA, and we recommend you check out our other articles that help breakdown further skills and tricks for becoming better at this. Another great article we recommend checking out to help you with your Values is our Powell Performance's Big Rocks