Accumulating Positives Long Term

When we talk about accumulating positives in the short term, this means doing things on a daily basis to fill your cup up. It’s a way to build a psychological buffer to distress via self-care. I like to think of this as making a deposit into your checking account. However, accumulating positives in the long-term is more like your 401K. This means doing things that are going to help you build a life worth living, which includes integrating your values. Values are defined as “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.” I like to think of our values being the roots of who we are as individuals. 

In DBT, we have a process to approach living in accordance with our values. 

Step 1: Look at a values list or take a quiz online to identify your top 5 values at this exact moment in time. It’s important to note that these may shift over time. Try this website out for a free survey VIA Character Survey.

Step 2: Choose 1 value to focus on at a time 

Step 3: Break down the value into specific goals

Step 4: Choose one of those specific goals to focus on now

Step 5: Create little action steps towards that one specific goal so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.  

So for example, family is a value that’s important to me. Some possible goals I can set to bring this value to action could include: making sure I am attending family functions, organizing family gatherings, keeping in contact with them to check in etc. Let’s say I choose the goal of keeping in regular contact with them. One action step could be picking up the phone, followed by another action step of making a phone call or sending a check in text message, or an appropriate GIF to let that person know I am thinking about them. By taking these steps, it will ensure I am caring for these relationships and taking steps to strengthen them.

Give it a try yourself to plant some roots and help create your life worth living! 


Written By: Dr. Krystal Lopez Psy.D

Photo Credit: Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash 



Definition of values:

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