This is a post about goal setting…except it really isn’t. It’s about desire.
I’ll be exploring a different kind of process, one that focuses on feeling and emotion rather than outlining how to set SMART goals and measure achievement analytics. If you’re unfamiliar with traditional goal setting, click here for a great how-to.
This post is not a how-to. It is a why-for.
Both Meg and I have done mountains of traditional goal setting. We love goals. We love envisioning our futures — mapping out the milestones and metrics is both immensely practical and mind-numbingly dull. But we realized that this type goal setting was sucking the joy out of our personal and professional lives.
We needed something more. We yearned for goals with soul.
[If you love this concept (and we totally love this concept), we’re excited for you, but don’t give us the credit. That belongs to Danielle Laporte, who has been putting the soul into goals for a long time. Her book, The Desire Map, is an excellent resource and fully outlines how to undertake this type of goal setting.]
You’re not chasing a goal, you’re chasing the feeling that you hope attaining that goal will give you. Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have. Generating those feelings is the most powerfully creative thing you can do with your life. ~ Danielle Laporte
Crafting our lives without considering how we want to feel is like being a mail-order bride: both leave something major out of the process. We’re developing our daily to-dos, our 5-year plans, our bucket lists, believing that when we achieve these things we'll feel wonderful (and validated by the universe) and then it'll be OK to ease up on our selves.
And sometimes that does happen. We get exactly what we want, and we feel fucking fantastic. But, these victories aren't luck. They happen because we've been following the demands of our deepest, most soulful desire. This requires courage, the kind of courage that is often born from cruel experience.
Our culture worships at the altar of the Over-Achiever. We’re told to be the best. We take on the ambitions of others, doing the things we think we’re ‘supposed’ to do, striving to impress with our success. We endure our way to benchmarks. We suck it up for security and approval. And then we crash. We burn out and we lose ourselves along the way – which is exactly opposite of how we most want to feel.
At Demanding Joy, we’re getting clear first on how we actually want to feel, and then we’re designing our goals; we’re setting intentions that are in sync with who we truly are, achieved in ways that are actually healthy and nourishing instead of an endurance test.
Because every craving, aspiration or goal that we have – from what we want to eat, wear, and own, to all the great things we want to bring into the world — is driven by an innate desire to feel a certain way.
Feelings are magnetic. Every feeling is a siren’s call that attracts more of itself. Love attracts love. Generosity produces a generous response. Anger creates more opportunities for anger. What we focus on expands. So choosing to focus on life-affirming feelings is the surest way to create the experience that we want.
Maybe we don't need to make a million bucks to feel abundant. Or be married with two kids by the time we're 35 to feel joyful. Maybe feeling creative or energized or sexy has nothing to do with getting the VP position, a new meditation practice, or firmer thighs. Or maybe those aspirations are exactly the things that we need to go after to generate our desired feelings.
When we get clear on how we want to feel and let those feelings be our guide, we might surprise ourselves with new choices. We'll sign up for workshops we'd never considered. We'll quit stuff. We'll start the day differently. Planning our week will take on a liberating kind of simplicity. We'll say no to the obligations that never felt very fun or freeing in the first place.
When we want to feel courageous more than we want to check accomplishments off our list...
When we want to feel free, more than we want to please other people …
When we want to feel beautiful, more than we want to fit someone else's definition of beauty…
Then we reconnect to our very selves and begin to create the life we are meant to live.