Do you feel resistance when it comes to setting goals?
I know I have in the past. The whole process can feel too masculine, pushy, or ‘corporate’.
I do, however, believe that the act of tuning into your heart to listen to what wants to be expressed or created through you is essential to creating a life you love. Without some form of heart-centered intention or goal, you can drift aimlessly in a sea of possibility without having anything secure to anchor yourself onto.
Research (like this published in Medium) has shown that you feel happiest when you have something to work towards that allows you to really stretch, unleash your full creativity and potential, and contribute to something you care about.
A clear, heart-centered goal acts as an internal compass to guide your daily decisions towards your ‘true north’, allowing you to more intentionally create a life you love.
What do I mean by your ‘true north’?
I mean the genuine, authentic desires of your heart and soul. And heart-centered goals are the means by which you align yourself with your true north.
An essential component of setting heart-centered goals is the act of first tuning into how you want to feel.
I give full credit to Danielle LaPorte and her Core Desired Feelings concept that has been a major force in shaping how I now approach goal-setting. Danielle was one of the first people to make me aware of how we have our traditional goal-setting processes backward.
Traditionally, we focus on an end goal without taking the time to figure out how we actually want to feel, which often leaves us feeling empty and discontent when we actually reach the goal because it didn’t actually make us feel how we wanted.
A heart-centered goal lights you up just thinking about it. The thought of reaching it uplifts, inspires and motivates you.
Heart-centered goals lead to ‘inspired action’; tasks and actions that feel exciting and joyful. If you’re feeling the need to set powerful heart-centered goals for the year ahead that will actually get you to where you want to be, I recommend you use the following process.
This may take some time, but I promise you it’s worth it.A heart-centered goal lights you up just thinking about it. The thought of reaching it uplifts, inspires and motivates you. Click To Tweet
How to Set Powerful Heart-Centered Goals That Actually Work in 6 Steps
Step 1: Acknowledge & celebrate everything you did and experienced in the previous year, or the year so far.
Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit for everything we do do, and instead focus on what we think is still missing. The simple act of documenting, acknowledging, and celebrating everything you did in the previous year lights the fires of passion, purpose, and creativity for the year ahead.
Gratitude and appreciation for all the goodness that manifested in your life provides an inspiring and exciting platform from which to springboard into your dreaming and goal setting. The easiest way to do this step is to write it all down, making sure you document:
- What you DID;
- How you GREW;
- What you LEARNT;
- Which new CONNECTIONS or networks you established;
- And any other highlights of the year that feel significant.
Make sure you find a way to celebrate and give gratitude for all the goodness that manifested in your life. If it feels right for you, close your eyes and spend some time in quiet gratitude.
Perhaps light a candle. Practising gratitude stimulates all the wonderful high-frequency emotions that are necessary for getting into an effective frame of mind for goal setting (including appreciation, joy, optimism, hope, grace, ease etc).
Step 2: Tune into the vision and mission you have for your life.
To effectively map out exciting and magnetic goals it’s important that you first tune into a vision of your future that makes you feel really excited when you think about it, as well as your mission. There is a subtle but very important distinction between your vision and your purpose. They’re very closely linked, but you can think of it this way:
“If your vision is the map, your mission (or purpose) is your inner compass.” – Jeffrey Davis, Tracking Wonder
Your vision is the final destination you desire to arrive at. You need a map to show you where you are now and where you want to end up (your vision). Then you need a compass (your mission) to help you continuously point yourself in the right direction, in order to reach your final destination.
Your vision summarises the qualities of the life you would like to live, while your purpose defines the details of how you serve others through your work.
Your mission statement should contain a summary of WHO you want to serve, HOW you help your people, and WHAT the result will be from your actions.
To help you get the idea and to stimulate your own reflective juices flow, here is my current vision and mission (these tend to evolve as I grow and evolve):
What is your vision for your future? This might be something you’re very clear about. Or maybe it’s something that’s still a bit murky for you.
To develop your own vision, try to think about what your ideal, dream life would look like in 5 – 10 years time.
What would you be doing? What kind of person will you be? What are the qualities of the life you desire to experience? What is the end destination that excites and uplifts you? And how would you define your personal purpose?To develop your own vision, try to think about what your ideal, dream life would look like in 5 – 10 years time. Click To Tweet
Step 3: Get clear on how you want to feel in the year ahead.
I believe this is the critical missing piece in all of our goal-setting processes. Failing to take the time to do this step might set you up to achieve goals that don’t necessarily make you happy or satisfied or fulfilled.
To tune in to how you want to feel, take some time to get quiet. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Place your attention into your heart space if you can. Take a few deep breaths and really feel into the energy in your heart centre. As you try to keep your focus there, ask yourself:
How do I want to feel this year?
Write down whichever words come up for you. My words for this year are:
Step 4: Engage in divergent thinking to dream big and imagine quantum leaps for your life!
If you want to set exciting, uplifting goals, it’s CRITICAL that you undergo some form of DIVERGENT THINKING before you narrow yourself down and choose goals that you want to shoot for in the year ahead.
We use divergent thinking to create choices, and then we use convergent thinking to make choices.
An important part of the divergent thinking process is allowing yourself to dream big and to expect ‘quantum leaps’ in your life.
In the video below, from 2:40, I describe how Price Pritchett defines Quantum Leaps in his book You2 – A High-Velocity Formula for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps. I highly recommend reading his book if you want to learn more about his approach, which integrates quantum physics principles into personal effectiveness tools.
Don’t you think it’s a pretty amazing thing that the only thing limiting us in life is our imagination? That we can literally do anything we want if our heart and soul want it badly enough? We get to literally dream up the life we want to live. As Price Pritchett says in his book You2:
“Seeking the quantum leap means violating the boundary of the probable. It means achieving well beyond the obvious. So don’t limit your desires to what you think you ‘can have’ …. start going after what you ‘want’. This means you must give yourself permission to dream, to risk. You must set yourself free.” – Price Pritchett
Once you get clear and excited about what you ‘want’, you can create it through harnessing the proven physical laws of our Universe, including The Law of Attraction.We can literally do anything we want if our heart and soul want it badly enough. Click To Tweet
Now that you understand what Quantum Leaps are, here’s how you can align your quantum leaps with your core desired feelings that you uncovered in Step 3.
How to do ‘divergent thinking’ that opens your mind to the possibility of ‘quantum leaps’.
Task 1: In your journal or notebook, write down all the words you chose as your ‘CORE DESIRED FEELINGS’ for the year ahead on the left-hand side.
Task 2: Next to each desired feeling, make two columns. In the first column, try to brainstorm some ‘normal’ goals, i.e. what Price Pritchett would refer to as your 10% incremental goals.
This is how we usually approach the goal-setting process, setting goals that we believe are within are ‘achievable’ range. In the next column, brainstorm some possible Quantum Leap goals, i.e. things that require you to stretch your imagination and dream bigger than normal.
What would be really amazing if you could achieve it next year? This is where you get to play with your imagination and dream up some really big and exciting goals!
Step 5: Choose the goals you want to focus on in the year ahead.
Now that you’ve been through a process of divergent thinking, it’s time to ‘converge’ and choose which goals you want to aim for in the year ahead. When doing this, remember that ‘more’ is not necessarily ‘better’.
Choosing a few quality goals that are closely aligned with your desired feelings and desired quantum leaps will position you to live a wonderful year. Be sure to check each goal with these questions:
- Will this goal help me feel the way I want to feel?
- Is this goal aligned with my authentic heart’s desires?
It’s also important not to focus on a single outcome. For example: publish my book. But rather to set goals that define the various milestones you’ll need to reach in order to reach that outcome. For example: finalise the book structure, secure book agent, submit first draft etc.
This is called ‘chunking down’ the goals into tangible milestones that you can work towards. This is where you get the chance to be specific and set realistic, yet challenging milestones and targets.
To be effective, your goals need to feel like a stretch (but not too much of a stretch that it feels overwhelming), and they need to feel exciting!
This allows you to take ‘inspired action’ that feels good.
Step 6: Get your goals and milestones into your diary and put them somewhere where you can see them!
To make your goals real, you’ll need to schedule them into your Yearly Planner so that you can work towards them. Put them somewhere where you can see them and be reminded of them consistently.
Lastly, have a think about some support structures you can put in place to make sure you regularly check in with your goals and modify them if they’re not aligning with your desired feelings. What support structures can you put in place?
A vision board? Hanging your goals up somewhere where you can see them? Telling your partner so they can remind you? Telling a friend and asking them to check in with you? Joining a group that will actively support you in pursuing your goals?
Once you decide on the goals, the actions and the support structures you’ll put in place to achieve your goals, you’re on your way!
I sincerely hope this article helps you set powerful heart-centered goals and I wish you so much success and magic in creating the life you love.
I’d love to hear from you – share your heart-centered goals in the comments below!
Kate De Jong is a blogger and coach who understands what it is like to juggle motherhood and entrepreneurship