Forget goals and resolutions: what if you based your life around how you wanted to feel?
I’ve been playing with Danielle LaPorte’s book Desire Map, which uses how you’d like to feel as a method for planning your year. I don’t totally vibe with D. LaP. on everything, but I did enjoy this process and found it a refreshing break from the normal New Year’s Resolution Hysteria.
A few years ago, I wrote an extremely in-depth article on how to set creative, compassionate resolutions. In that article I talked about the importance of identifying the intention behind the goal (the experience you want) and then setting up your day-to-day life in order to support that experience.
For example, exercising is part of having a better relationship with your body. Since there are lots of ways to improve your relationship with your body, you’re not stuck in the all-or-nothing thinking that accompanies so many goals.
The Desire Map is similar. The main difference is that LaPorte advocates for a more holistic approach – identifying how you want to feel across the board, not just in one area of your life.
Why does anyone do anything? Because of how they think it will make them feel.
Imagine accomplishing your number-one resolution for 2017. How will you feel once you’ve got that achievement under your belt?
If you could feel that way, right now, would you even need to accomplish that specific goal?
What is the real goal – the accomplishment, or the feeling?
The Desire Map asks you to look at different areas of your life, such as livelihood, lifestyle, health, relationships, and spirituality. You reflect on what is and isn’t working, as well as how you’d like to feel. You identify the common themes: what words come up over and over again? Then you work on tweaking your life so you can experience those feelings as often as possible.
These are the core desired emotions that will keep you on track throughout the year.
These feelings help you make decisions, identify priorities, and yes, set goals for yourself.
Say you want to experience more love, freedom, and serenity this year. You’ve now got a way to filter through existing decisions and make new plans. All you have to do is ask yourself: Does this bring me closer to how I want to feel?
The whole process took me a couple of hours. I appreciated the questions as a jumping-off place to review my life, and (nerdy pro-tip!) I kept track of my answers in Evernote so that they’ll be easier to find and review in the future.
I know y’all are dying to know my core desired feelings for 2017, so here they are:
- Grounded Ease
- Inspired Connection
- Authentic Presence
Even just writing them down and looking at them makes me feel good. They’re my touchstones for when I feel fuzzy. They are a map of how I want to move forward. They reassure me that I’m okay right where I am, and they remind me of what’s possible.
Intention = Challenge. Are You Ready?
Deciding how you want to feel might sound really empowering and lovely – and it is. But I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t prepare you for what will happen next.
For years, I longed to experience more trust. Trust in myself, my abilities, and my judgment. Trust in the universe to see me through. Trust that I don’t have to micromanage everything for life to turn out okay.
Well, I have that now. How did I do it?
I went through some big challenges this past year and I handled them like a boss. I did stuff that scared me and I didn’t die. I said yes to some things and no to others, even when it was hard. I showed up for myself and the other people in my life.
I wanted trust and now I have it. But to get there, I had to put myself into situations where trust was necessary.
One of my friends once told me, “Never pray for patience,” because then the universe will give you a reason to need it. Putting the intention out to feel a certain way is a challenge. It’s an invitation for life to show you all the places that are incongruent with that feeling.
If you want to feel free, you will start seeing everywhere you feel trapped. Then you have to decide how much you want that freedom. Is disturbing the status quo and busting out of your self-imposed limits worth the effort?
There’s no judgment either way. There’s no right answer. It’s all about what’s right for you.
So – how do you want to feel this year? Are you up to the challenge?