I recently wrote about The Desire Map (a book by Danielle LaPorte you can purchase here) and the core desired feelings I came up with after reading the book. These are four feelings I am using to drive my decision-making this year: centered, aroused, flowing, and playful.
After identifying core desired feelings, the next step of The Desire Map is to develop goals. I was nervous and excited for this, mistakenly thinking that by the end of it I would know where I want to move and what type of job I want to obtain this year. Ha! Not at all.
My goals are much more process- than outcome-based, which feels difficult because there’s always that little (but loud!) part of my mind that wants something certain I can write down and then work feverishly towards. Values-wise, I prefer to take a bottom-up, process-focused approach. It requires that I withstand a lot of uncertainty for a prolonged period of time, however, which is difficult for someone like me, who struggles with anxiety. That said, I am very happy with the goals I outlined.
Here are the 2017 goals I came up with:
While many people were joining the gym at the start of the new year, I was canceling my membership. I lifted heavy weights for a year and a half because I had a strong desire to feel strong. Now, I want to feel centered, flowing, aroused, and playful. Lifting weights in a gym doesn’t give me those feelings. Doing yoga at home alone while listening to music does. (Riding my bike with my little dog sitting in the basket also does.) My original goal was to do yoga every day. So far, I’ve done it roughly every other day.
My intention is to work on art every day, with “art” being broadly defined as writing, painting, taking photos, or doing something else that feels creative. I’ve been very successful in this goal so far. Right now my inclination is to paint every day, but sometimes I have to prioritize writing instead because I am supposed to be working on my Master’s thesis (which is a novel).
By getting involved, I mean volunteering, protesting, attending political events, calling my representatives, donating, etc. My goal is to do one of these things at least once per week. So far, this goal has been the easiest, probably because it’s weekly and not daily.
Be in Nature.
My other weekly intention is to spend time in nature. At first I was going to make this a goal to go to the beach every week, but since I live about an hour away, that might not always be feasible. So far I’ve gone to the beach, canoed on the river, or walked in a nature park nearly every week of the year.
I really, really, really enjoy the process-focused rather than outcome-focused goals. Actually, moving forward I want to call them “intentions.” The whole idea of “goals” doesn’t sit well with me anymore. We can’t create a plan for life and stick exactly to it–that’s just a recipe for anxiety, frustration, and disappointment. I can set how I want to feel, do the things that make me feel that way, and bring more joy and meaning into my life.
Focusing on my core desired feelings for the past two months has changed my perspective quite a bit. I’m realizing how achievement-focused I was. I’m also realizing how off my priorities were, and how my mental efforts didn’t properly represent what I truly value. I was spending most of my time thinking about things related to career and dating when really what I want to prioritize is my health, my connection to nature, my contribution to society, and my ability to be kind and compassionate to the people in my life.