ACT In My Life

May 25, 2018


Back in February I was participating in a training for local therapists on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (aka ACT).  During the presentation, I had the thought "How is this working in my life?  Have I identified my values, and taken the actions that will lead me to a rich and meaningful life?"  In one particular domain, the answer was resoundingly no.  Feeling a little disappointed (and hypocritical), I asked myself "What are you waiting for?"  


The place I was struggling was in health.  Every day I would wake up and commit to begin eating a more healthy diet and to incorporate physical activity into my daily routine.  Every evening I would feel like a failure, knowing that I was doing everything but what I had committed to do.  


So the following day I began the arduous process of change.  The first step was to identify and get really clear about what it was I wanted.  How did I want my life to be different?  There were a few things that were glaringly obvious, the first was that I wanted to feel better, both physically and emotionally.  And, I no longer wanted to feel like a hypocrite, but rather to demonstrate what was possible. 


 The next step was to identify the obstacles to change.  Time, or lack of, seemed to be a major one.  I looked at my calendar and decided that I needed to change my schedule to create an opening to incorporate exercise as a part of my daily routine.  I also needed to change my eating and to select a plan that was doable.  I decided to track calories and to stay within my calorie limit.  


I knew what I wanted, I knew what I needed to do, I eliminated the obstacles and excuses... and the journey began.  I am still not where I want to be, but I am making progress and that feels good.  I expect and accept that the journey will be difficult and that I will encounter and carry lots of negative thoughts, emotions and setbacks along the way.  I will not, however, allow the difficulty to get in the way of what is important to me.  More importantly, I can speak with honesty when I say I've applied the ACT principles to my own life, and despite the difficulty, I am now living a richer more meaningful life.


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