My hubby and I have been diligent about goal setting for years…

Before having kids, we would head to a retreat-like setting every November for 2 or 3 days with our calendar, laptop, dry-erase board and loads of green juice.  Our excitement was palpable as we hammered out everything we wanted to achieve in the year ahead.

We had a great system down and it worked for us.  We were able to focus and accomplish some bold and meaningful goals.  We began offering goal-setting workshops at our office and coached others through the process of identifying goals – exploring areas such as health, relationships, career, and adventure.  We were making an impact!

A few years ago, something shifted in my relationship to goals.  Maybe it was becoming a mother, and the major “shake up” in priorities that comes along with having children, but the energy I brought to goal setting completely fizzled.  I started to feel like I was setting goals out of obligation, rather than inspiration.  I would look at the plan I had laid out and feel disconnected from it.  I began to question my need for striving and wondered if it made me less able to be present.  For a couple of years, I stopped setting goals all together.

Last year, something profound caught my attention – A concept called Desire Mapping  – which is the work of Danielle LaPorte.  It’s an incredible shift on goal setting and it resonates with where I am in my life right now.  The Desire Map is about identifying how you truly want to feel in your life as the guide for creating your goals.  Rather than striving toward something “out there”, get clear on your core desired feelings to shape your actions.

This past November, when Craig (AKA – Dr. B) and I sat down together, we started by doing some digging about how we really want to feel.

 What do I want to create more of in my life?  How do I want to feel on a daily basis?

Then I dug a little deeper and defined the meaning that these words hold for me.

Joyfulin the moment, engaged, grateful

Vibrant: full of health, life and energy

Creative: utilizing my unique gifts to add value to the world

Connectedmaking a contribution, having meaningful relationships, being present

Can you see the importance of clearly defining how you want to feel in order to create more meaningful and relevant goals?

One of my goals this year is to run a half marathon.  I have done this a few times before, but this year I am shifting my focus.  Because one of my desired feelings is to be connected – rather than tackle this on my own, I plan on training alongside a dear friend.  Investing time and energy into our relationship while we pursue this goal together will add the element of connection to my experience.

Core desired feelings are like a compass… guiding, shaping and inspiring our actions and rituals.  I have a renewed sense of excitement about the journey toward goals that align with my desired feelings.  It is, after all, in the journey that we discover more about who we are and who we want to be.

Do you regularly set goals, intentions or resolutions?  Can this concept bring new meaning to the way you look at goal setting?

Dr. Marissa Bentham & the Backfit Team

P.S.  At Backfit, we are putting these ideas into action with our “Great Exchange”.  It’s a very simple way to get in alignment and create some positive momentum.  Talk to one of our fantastic team members if you want to join us in making 2014 a year with more energy, clarity, and purpose!