Copyright 2006 Cari Vollmer
Are you tired of starting the New Year with the same old goals as last year, goals that never seemed to manifest? As 2006 begins, take a new approach to goal-setting and ask the question that will have you feeling better about your life, than you ever have before. Youll end your year on a HIGH NOTE and love the journey along the way. The question?
How do I wish to FEEL about my life this year?
I was working with a client who was ready to make BIG changes in his life. As he sat across the table from me, looking beaten-down and worn-out, I asked him what his goals were for the New Year. He couldnt answer and I could tell, life had gotten the best of him.
Then I asked him, How do you want to FEEL about your life this year? He looked up at me and said, Ive never thought about how I want to feel about my life. I just do what I need to do and go from there. As we sat together he became animated as he expressed his wish to feel good, be happy, be at peace, and on track. As he envisioned his life feeling purposeful, happy, peaceful and on track, he began feeling better. He got a sparkle in his eyes. He sat straighter. As if by magic, the life started pouring back into him when he realized honoring his desire to feel good was a smart strategy for creating a life that felt more like the person he wanted to be.
Honoring the way you wish to feel about your life naturally begs the question, What can I do (what goals could I set or activities could I do) to bring about the emotional state I desire?
For example, Mary wants to lose weight and sets a goal to do so. She begins working out, reducing her caloric intake and no doubt, depriving herself. How long does she stick with it?
Or, Mary could take another approach. She could reflect on her desire to lose weight and ask herself why this is so important to her. Her answer? She wants to FEEL GOOD about her body. She then sets a goal reflective of her desire to FEEL GOOD about her body and comes up with: I appreciate and honor the body I have.
Can you see the difference in each approach? The first approach certainly gets Mary to take action but does it really improve the relationship she has with her body? And, isnt that what Mary really wants, to FEEL GOOD about her body?
Marys goal to appreciate and honor her body is a truer reflection of the emotional state shes looking for in regards to her body. Shes tired of feeling bad and she wants to feel GOOD. Losing weight was what she thought she needed to do to feel better but upon closer examination she realized what she really wants is to feel better about her body NOW, regardless of whether or not she loses weight.
The next step for Mary is to ask herself what she can do to honor and appreciate her body. For Mary this may include eating less, walking outside, and getting more rest. Not only would doing these things help Mary fulfill her commitment to honor and appreciate her body, shed probably lose weight too!
What about you? How do you want to feel about YOUR life?
Our feelings, or emotions, are a very accurate and built in barometer of whether or not were living our life in sync with our inner most self; the part of our SELF that isnt as concerned with what we do for doings sake as it is in fulfilling our deeper life purpose.
If you live life without honoring your feelings, chances are youre not living the life God (The Universe, Higher Power) intends for you to live.
What can you do to become more aware of your feelings?
* Understanding the common misconceptions and obstacles many face when it comes to honoring their feelings, is a good place to start.
* Feelings are seen as weak, where doing is strong. We are a society of doers. Doing is still highly respected in our society and for some reason we think doing and feeling cant work together. But consider the success secrets of the super-successful like Warren Buffet and Michael Jordan. They have said trusting their gut (their feelings about something) has lead to very wise business decisions, much more so than analysis. Oprah Winfrey has said many times if she feels doubt, she doesnt act. To her, doubt means dont.
* Fear of appearing emotional or flaky. The act of examining and honoring your feelings doesnt have to look or be dramatic. Rather, it can be a personal act no one is privy to.
* Thinking of ME first is selfish. Were you raised to be nice? For many of us being nice meant giving in to the wishes of others. Honoring your feelings first, is not a selfish act. In fact, its the first step in taking care of yourself.
* Feelings are scary. Yes, this can be true. But remember your feelings are very wise, even the not-so-good ones. If youre feeling angry, jealous, resentful, or unhappy, there are reasons why. If you need help exploring your feelings, talk to a friend, coach or someone gifted in helping people sort through their feelings, like a therapist. Every feeling has a message for you – every one.
How do you read your feelings?
Every time youre faced with a decision, your feelings (or emotions) kick into gear. The next decision (the bigger the better) you have to make, try this:
* Stop and Notice. Stop for a moment and tune into the sensations you feel in your body.
* Feel. As you pay attention to your body sensations, has your breathing become shallow or are you breathing easily? Do you feel a tightening in your shoulders, neck and jaw, or do you feel relaxed? Do you feel a tightening in your chest, or does your chest feel relaxed and open?
* Ask and Name. Now ask, What is this sensation (ex: what is my tight solar plexus) trying to tell me? Then name the feeling. Is your tight solar plexus telling you that youre nervous, scared, or afraid? Does the fear you feel tell you to say, NO, or is it a normal reaction to stretching your comfort zone? Does the relaxation you feel in your body tell you youre on the right track? Or is it simply an expression of the boredom you feel that moment?
* Dont judge. Dont judge your feelings as good or bad. They are what they are. Every feeling you have has something to tell you. Every one.
What will you gain from honoring your feelings?
Think of your feelings as an ON/OFF switch. When youre turned OFF to your feelings, your life will feel dimmer, perhaps even dark. When youre turned ON to your feelings, your life will sparkle. In other words, your LIGHT will be on!
Enjoy and FEEL your life this year. Dont let your feelings play second fiddle to other things in your life. Your feelings do matter. They are important. And they are very wise. Trust and follow your feelings and youll end 2006 FEELING GREAT!