A short while ago I suggested to add a twist to the task of goal setting and affirming those goals (see Spending A Little Time in Bliss – January 2013). I now suggest you build on that and take this one step further.
Often times, when I set goals, I create an exhaustive list of things I want to accomplish. I create a series of goals and then break down the steps I need to take to reach them. These are specific and measurable and all the good things that goals are made of – right?
I have come to understand that when I set goals I am actually working towards a feeling. I am setting these goals with the intention of becoming something – and that by becoming something, or completing that goal, I will feel a certain way. Hmm, how did I not notice that concept for so long? (one of those aha moments!)
I propose to turn goal setting on its head. I suggest concentrating on how you wish to feel. That’s right, how do you want to feel each and every day? Sit with that for a bit and begin to brainstorm all the feelings you will have when you are living the life you wish to have. It’s cliché, but yet belongs right here, start with the end in mind. I want to feel________________.
Every choice a person makes, from the food they eat to the clothes they wear and the career they pursue is driven by a desire to feel a certain way. So truly, how do you wish to feel? Do you already feel this way a little, but want to have a grander sense of this feeling? Is there someone you admire who projects a certain feeling you wish to have?
I suggest you sit with this question for about a week or so. Really brainstorm about how you truly wish to feel. I recommend you carry a list with you and when something hits you, add it to the list, include how you don’t wish feel if that comes to you as well, we can work with that. Don’t worry about the number of feelings on the list, just put everything, silly or serious on this list.
Once you believe you have exhausted this exercise, begin to pare it down to 4 or 5 feelings. You will find that many feelings live within each other and can be encompassed into one feeling statement. I call this the desired state.
Now that you have determined your desired state, you can begin to set your course towards your ultimate desired state. This becomes your touchstone to determine your steps. Will doing _________ move me towards feeling___________? By doing __________ will I feel a bit __________ today? You may find out, as I have, that some of the goals you have been pursuing are not in sync with your ultimate desired state and can begin to re-assess if this is something which needs to be revised or entirely tossed.
I believe the process outlined above will both save you time, and provide greater direction in your life and the pursuit of your true dreams. I believe genuine happiness is a feeling that lives within the desired state.
What step can you take today to move you in the direction of the feelings you wish to experience?