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Set goals that make you feel great

January is the time of year when many write down a list of resolutions that encompass all the habits they wish to change or goals they hope will bring them what they desire.

As the year progresses, success is measured by whether habits have stuck and goals have been achieved. People who ‘fail’ at even one goal or resolution may feel guilt, shame, invalidated and disappointed with themselves. Those who do succeed may feel a sense of achievement but may wonder why life doesn’t suddenly feel amazing.

The problem with goal-setting

Traditional resolutions and goals miss the point. Most are based on external drivers leading to dissatisfaction, resentment, frustration and emptiness because they’re not bringing you want you really want. Instead they may be driven by what people expect of you; a sense of obligation because you’ve come so far or invested so much in a particular direction or simply because it’s what others seem to be doing.

The greatest clue a goal is externally driven?

You feel you should do it.

True fulfilment and happiness comes from first understanding your deepest desires and how you truly want to feel inside every day. By identifying the values and feelings that matter most to you, you’ll set goals that are meaningful and you’ll be even more motivated to achieve them. It doesn’t mean you’re any less ambitious. In fact, you’re more likely to be successful. Plus, you’ll not only feel great at the end, you’ll feel great on the way.

Identify your true values

The first step is to get clear on your values because these are your primary motivators and drive your feelings. Reach for a notebook and write down the answers to these questions:

By the time you’ve finished this exercise, you’ll have listed a number of words and phrases that reflect your true values. Highlight up to seven that matter most to you.

Choose how you want to feel

The second step is to decide how you want to feel this year. Ask yourself:

Write down all the emotions you love to feel and pick up to seven.

You may also find it useful to reverse all of these questions to identify your ‘shadow feelings’ – these are the emotions you want to experience less or avoid completely.

Work outwards to your goals

Goals driven by values and desired feelings sound like:

Honouring your values and feelings is not selfish. The happier and healthier you are, the stronger you will be for others. The more people depend on you, the more important it is.

So, take each of your values and feelings in turn and ask yourself:

Setting goals based on inner drivers is a subtle shift but focuses your energies today rather than making you feel like you’re having to make constant sacrifices and punishments without ever being sure if you’ll reap the rewards in the future. Honouring your values and feelings every day is the best way to create your dream life.

About Loretta Milan

Loretta Milan is a certified coach, international speaker and founder of Original Life. She's on a mission to inspire everyone to create the life they love and make their dreams happen. She loves stationery, travel and tea.

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