Every year for several years now, I’ve returned to Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul to identify what she calls your “core desired feelings” for the year.
Basically, the idea is that rather than starting with a goal like, “lose weight” or “save money,” instead you start with how you want to feel — and then design your goals to feel that way more often.
This year, my core desired feelings are: elegant, whole, love, and inspired.
Elegant is more about how I feel than how others see me (though the two tend to go hand in hand). For me it encompasses essentialism (not minimalism, which is a post for another day), quality, mindfulness, and pleasure.
Whole refers to the fact that I realized over the past few years I’ve poured a ton of energy into improving myself as a business owner, but much less time or energy into improving myself personally, my relationships, etc.
Love is on the list because really I crave to feel loved, but as the author points out, being loved by others is totally out of my control. What is in my control, however, is to generate feelings of love inside myself. So I’m going to try to be more intentionally loving.
And finally, I crave the jolt of energy and excitement and passion that comes from feeling inspired. It might come from creating something, but also from reading a really excellent book, seeing a live performance, watching a really great movie, etc.
The beauty of this is that one can translate those core desired feelings into decisions and actions big and small. It could be something as simple as choosing to eat my breakfast with a silver spoon or drink my coffee from a china teacup. Or it might be as big as changing careers, moving across country, traveling the world.
I don’t have any plan to do any of the latter.
But I am making some big gestures toward feeling the way I want to feel.
Two weekends ago, I wanted to take down the Christmas tree and put away all the decorations, which morphed into a (necessary) deep clean of the living room (so many pine needles!) which morphed into a moving-the-furniture-to-clean-underneath deep clean, which morphed into “what do you think about moving the table over here?” which morphed into selling our giant IKEA TV cabinet and temporarily relocating our TV to the guest room…
The upshot is that our downstairs living area looks and feels a lot more open and spacious. We moved our small sofa into the space where the dining table used to be, meaning that there’s now a sitting area right next to the kitchen. I had some friends over for brunch last week and they both said it felt warm and welcoming.
We want to replace the blue sofa sometime soon, and we swapped out the light fixture for a new one from IKEA (to prevent everyone over 5 feet tall from smashing their head on the old one). Still need a new lamp for the dining area to provide a bit more light at night, and we’ll probably move the art to the center wall over the table, but I’m really liking it.
In the vein of paying more attention to my personal development (not just business development) I also joined a community chorus on a whim this week. A friend of mine posted on social media that she had joined, I commented that I wanted to join — and boom, I joined.
To be fair, there’s no audition. Joining involves sending an email. But I’ve got the sheet music and practice tracks to download, and the first rehearsal is Wednesday, so I guess I joined a chorus!
I also attended an information session on a 2-year writing program aimed at helping people complete a book-length work. (Basically an MFA without the degree — and much less expensive!) I’m not sure it’s for me, but it was exciting to think about and a great excuse to visit the place and learn more about the people and programs.
Both of these should feed that inspiration itch I’ve been having. Singing (with a group, especially) can be a spiritual experience for me, regardless of what I’m actually singing. And I know I do better with my writing when I have other people involved in the process, so a workshop or class is often a real driver for me.
After several years of practice, I find that starting with the end in mind — the way I want to feel as the result I want to create — is a much more wholistic way of setting goals for me. And finding ways to prioritize those good feelings is fun and rewarding.