Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Goal setting is like crack for us Type A chicas. Here’s how I finally broke my addiction.
A handful of years ago, while reading Danielle Laporte’s online version of the Fire Starter Sessions, I remember reading a chapter or maybe just a little chunk of content about making decisions based on how you want to feel. I remember thinking, “that’s cool.” And then I went on with my day without giving it another thought.
Fast forward to the fall of 2013. I had enrolled in a business coaching program with Racheal Cook called Yogipreneur Mentorship. Racheal (who is a genius, by the way) and I were on one of our early coaching calls in the program when she asked me if I’d read Danielle’s book The Desire Map. I responded that I was familiar with the concept but hadn’t actually read the book. This smarty-pants response (I know what it’s about so I don’t actually have to do the work) was a trademark move for me. (I’m learning, learning)
Racheal encouraged me to get the book and I listened. Eventually. Two months later. It was still another month before I actually picked up the book and cracked it open. So stubborn, my ego.
It was the week between Christmas and New Years and I had lots of down time. These days of the year had become a reflective time for me, mostly encouraged by my friend and amazing life coach Deirdre Walsh. We’d created a new tradition of spending New Years Day together. And by together I mean 300 miles apart. She’s in Toronto and I was in Cleveland, but we’d spend the day working on our goals for the year individually and checking in by phone every hour, doing some fun self-exploration exercises along the way.
This year I had decided to dive into Desire Mapping as my goal setting tool for 2014. I planned to read the first half, the text, in advance and spend New Year’s day banging out the workbook that comprised the second half of the book. So “Type A” I am.
Then I started reading and everything changed.
I remember thinking, “My life has to change. Now.”
I didn’t even start the workbook section. I scribbled down a handful of words that I identified in my frenzy as my CDFs (Core Desired Feelings – the foundation of the work) and went about my days examining how I felt in every given moment.
The breaking down had begun. It was both painful and liberating.
Six months later, with a whole new life in a whole new city, while taking what could only be described as a break from life, I decided it was time to start rebuilding. The Desire Map would be my blueprint. I read the text again. Fucking brilliant. Then, not in my typical “tackle the project” style (I’m learning, learning) I began to delve into the workbook. I took my time. I digested it slowly. I went back and re-read sections of the text. I took naps. I spent a month on it. A month just to define my CDFs. I stopped about 3/4 way through the workbook. I’d done enough for this round.
I was getting somewhere.
Having clearly defined CDFs I started looking at my life, my business. What exactly did I want it all to feel like? And how would I go about bringing that to fruition? Thus began an incubation period, a creative frenzy, an opening up like I’ve never experienced and can hardly describe.
Friends and family would ask, “How are things going?” or “What are you up to?”
“I’m working on things,” I would respond. What “things” I was working on was hard to explain. Just… things.
I worked and worked and got myself into a frenzy of wanting to “get there faster.” Where? And for who? Then, like a junkie back on the smack, I bought a 2015 wall calendar and planned out the coming year. The entire fucking year. Then I cried. A lot. How would I get it all done? How would I make it all happen? I was frozen. Paralyzed with the pressure of it all. I accomplished absolutely nothing.
As December approached I started to get the itch to revisit The Desire Map. Beautiful and compelling. I was determined to finish the workbook this time and plan out all of the big beautiful wonderful things I’d accomplish in 2015 based on my CDFs. I was going to do it right!
So just before Christmas I dug back in. I revisited my Core Desired Feelings. Got a clearer vision of how I want to FEEL every day. I was loose and luxurious with the process. I ate chocolate. Took breaks. Spend the whole day in my PJs. Then I closed the book. CDFs clearly defined, I’d take some space and revisit the goal setting portion of the workbook in a few days. I drank wine to celebrate what I’d accomplished. It all felt so gooooood!
Then promptly, the agonizing began. I know how I want to feel, but how am I going to MAKE THAT HAPPEN? How am I going to get there? What if my goals are too lofty? What if they aren’t lofty enough? I don’t want to settle. But they need to be comfortable and doable. Oh, monkey mind, how you plague me. I agonized over this for days.
So there I am on my 1st New Years call of the day with Deirdre describing to her how I can’t get over this disconnect between how I want to FEEL and what I want to ACCOMPLISH. That my brain, so well trained to find creative solutions to all the problems it encounters, is determined to set quotas, define dollar amounts and then strategize how to get there. And that FEELS like total shit. Ugh.
Here, in a nut shell, is what she said to me (because she is a great friend and a brilliant coach):
It’s like dieting. You decide you want to lose 10 pounds by a certain date, then you go about setting all the rules and requirements you have to follow to get there. Then you spend every day thinking about what you can eat and can’t eat and how you HAVE to get to the gym and how annoying it is that someones eating a cookie in front of you and on and on in the miserableness of at all. And maybe you lose some pounds or maybe you give up or cheat on the diet or maybe you get to your goal and then realize you’ve been miserable for the month it took you to get there and now all you want to do is drink wine and eat cookies.
If you decided instead, that you want to eat healthier and get more exercise because those things will make you FEEL better, and then went about making the decision each day to do just that, to make better food choices and to get more exercises, you’d probably lose the 10 pounds without all the effort and angst. It would just happen.
Bam. Lightbulb moment.
Here I was trying to SET GOALS when in reality my CDFs ARE my goals. And if I just focus on feeling that way each day, then change will just happen. Good things will come to be without all the effort and angst of trying to strategize and force things into existence. Now I can just show up and do my work each day and not worry about where I’m getting. I can just let it all unfold, trusting that it will all be as it’s meant to be. Suddenly there is all this space & light around everything.
Wow. Now that feels good. So freaking good.
Want to feel this good about your new year?
Check out The Desire Map. It will change your life.