By Cath Gillespie
I used to be an overachieving perfectionist who would have no problem setting and achieving goals. But one day I cracked, I’d had enough. If setting myself goals wasn’t making me truly feel happy, peaceful or fulfilled what was the point in it all? So I decided to stop.
As rebellious as this felt at the time, if I’m being honest, as a strategy it didn’t quite work for me. Yes I slowed down and found more peace, but I lost a sense of momentum and focus.
Thankfully, I’ve now found a much more effective way to plan and intentionally create a future that truly makes me happy.
Setting feeling goals first
I still set myself goals, but now I base them on how I want to feel. When we want something, it’s usually because we think it will make us feel better when we have it. This includes achieving a career goal. The problem is, it’s rarely that simple.
I won’t get much joy, for example, out of achieving my 2018 goals if in the process I’m stressed, full of self-doubt and anxious. I’ll be left with a temporary moment of satisfaction and then a ‘now what’ kind of feeling.
This is why I choose to focus on feeling goals first. Because how I feel is more important than the details of what I achieve.
Try setting your own feeling goals
You don’t have to go on a yoga retreat or spend several days silently reflecting on your motivations to understand and set yourself feelings goals.
For instance, this morning I jotted down how I want to feel in 2018 before I thought about any of my other goals. I came up with:
I wrote down these words, repeated them and imagined embodying them. And it immediately had an effect. Believe it or not, as I did this I felt silly, clear, fun, light, joyful and eager and I want to feel the same throughout 2018.
By deciding how I want to feel first, I could create my external life and career goals based on whether they would help me achieve those feelings. That focus helped me decide which direction I should go in and what steps I should take next, both in the short and long term.
Soon they’ll be second nature
Once you understand how you want to feel, you’ll be amazed at how you are drawn to experiences that will help create that feeling and away from those that won’t.
I know, for some, this can all sound a little wishy-washy and impractical. But it doesn’t mean we stop taking the actions that we need to pay the bills and put food on the table. It just means we pay more attention to how we want to feel and use that to influence and inspire the career and life decisions we make.
The great thing about setting feeling goals is that once we embrace how we want to feel, we become those feelings. We become joyful rather than stressed, eager rather than reticent and so on. And – as opposed to external goals such as new cars or new jobs that provide a temporary high – the benefits are lifelong. The happier you are the more likely you are to be a success in whatever you’re doing.