Skip to main content

Resilient Actions

What is Resilient Action?

Resilient Action (1) from Loyola Counseling on Vimeo.

Values vs. Goals

Values are statements about what we want to be doing with our life – they are the leading principles that help guide and motivate us. For example, you may value being a good friend, maintaining health and fitness, and being open and honest. A value is not something you do, but rather what guides what you do. Values are like a compass. As you know, a compass helps you navigate and keep on track as you are traveling. Our values do the same in our lives. We use them to choose the direction in which we want to move and to keep us on track. When you act on a value, it is like heading west. No matter how far west you travel, you never get there; there is always further to go.

Goals are what you do (e.g., eating healthy, studying, making time for friends). A goal is something that can be completed, achieved, and “crossed off the list.” Keeping with the compass metaphor, goals are like the things you try to achieve on your journey west; they are the sights you want to see or the mountains you want to climb while continuing to travel west.

Some Examples of Values vs. Goals

Goal: Run a 5k by the end of the year
Value: Physical Health 
Goal: Spend less time worrying 
Value: Act courageously 

Goal: Experience more positive emotions throughout the day 
Value: Be warm, open, and friendly toward others 

Goal: Graduate college 
Value: Personal growth and knowledge 

Five Key Points About Values

  1. Values never need to be justified.
  2. Values often need to be prioritized.
  3. Values are changeable and adjustable. Watch "Changing Values" to learn what it means to be a work in progress.
  4. Values are freely chosen. 
  5. Values are lived daily in the present moment; goals are plans you make for the future.

Final note about values vs. goals: many people think of success as achieving goals. We invite you to consider a different definition: success is living by our values. With this definition, we can be successful right now, even though our goals may be a long way off.

Why Is Resilient Action Important?

Engaging in resilient action allows you to experience a variety of situations, both good and bad, in order to move towards your values. People who live a valued life experience a greater sense of meaning and purpose because they are better able to cope with the challenges that life throws them. If we are able to better cope and communicate with others, we experience deeper and more fulfilling relationships, which further increase our resilience in tough situations.

What You Can Do
  • Learn how to clarify your deepest personal values using this "Clarifying Your Values" handout. Once you have stated your values, it becomes easier to match your behaviors to your values. 
  • Take the time to regularly identify your goals. Try creating SMART goals that are consistent with your values. SMART goals are specific, meaningful, actionable, realistic, and time-framed. Use this SMART Goals worksheet to write down your goals.
  • Take action to live more according to your values and goals.  Think about your values and goals and the changes you need to make to fulfill them. 
  • Commit to what you want and write down the specific actions you want to take.  Doing so makes it more likely that you will follow through with your plan. Be aware and plan for barriers that may arise. Overall, individuals who live according to what they value tend to report increased satisfaction with their life.  
Value Physical health
Goal Work out 30 min, 3x a week
Barrier It's freezing outside
New Plan Do a yoga video in your dorm room
  • Do something to help others!  Learn about the surprising relationship between happiness and helping others.
  • Learn new ways of coping and self-soothing.  Try things like the following:
    • Meditate—Meditation helps you live in the moment rather than anticipating fearful events. Meditation also increases self-awareness and promotes mental clarity. 
    • Exercise—Physical activity causes physiological changes such as increased blood flow to the brain and can elevate mood.
    • Breathing exercises—Relieves tension and increases oxygen intake.  Breathe in relaxation and breathe out stress.
    • Journal— Journaling helps you get in touch with your thoughts and feelings. Writing helps you to process your thoughts and problem-solve.
    • Yoga—Try a yoga course at the FAC, or do some yoga in the privacy of your own room using one of the many videos available on the web.
    • Try another one of these ways to cope
  • Learn interpersonal skills and communication techniques to enhance your relationships.  Check out this Communication Skills handout.
Journal Prompts for Reflection
  • How do you handle conflict in relationships?
  • When you consider your week and weekend, how were your actions in accordance to your values?
  • What makes it challenging to live out your values? 
  • What are some techniques you use to de-stress?  

Contact Us

Humanities, Room 150
One flight up the turret entrance
Phone: 410-617-CARE (2273)

Call to schedule an appointment
Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.


REACT Online

REACT is an online video that explains how to help yourself or someone you care about cope in healthy ways after a distressing life event (such as a trauma, assault, or loss).