THE BLOG
12/30/2014 02:30 pm ET Updated Mar 01, 2015

2015 Planning: Start With Your Feelings?

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It's planning time! You knew that I'd have to write about planning for 2015 at one point before the end of the year. It would be inappropriate not to! Truth be told, being the planning psycho that I am, it was hard to wait this long to broach the subject. I'm even more excited because this year I have found an improved, more fun, higher quality approach to setting and achieving your goals for 2015.

We're going to talk about your feelings.

Stop the eye rolling and read on. (I have been married for almost 22 years, I can sense when someone is rolling their eyes even though I don't see it). I guarantee this goal setting approach will produce results.

Stop for a moment and think about a day in your life where you felt exactly how you always hoped you would feel. Maybe you felt strong, energized, peaceful, alive, truly happy, powerful, balanced, whatever the feeling was, it was something you remember as a wonderful time in your life. You got a promotion. You completed a project that will make a difference to someone. You had a romantic evening with your partner. Your kid looked at you like you were a god(ess). You finished a marathon. You truly relaxed on vacation. These scenarios sparked feelings in your body -- I want to you identify those feelings and write them down. Take a few more minutes to pick out a handful of these feelings that you'd like to replicate next year.

Now, we're going to use the feelings you just wrote down as anchors for setting your 2015 goals. Am I making sense? Basically, we are attempting to align your goals with how you want to feel in 2015. Here's an example. Seven years ago, I set a goal to ran a marathon. Did I like running? Nope. Did I really want to train for six months? Nope. Was I pissed off that I had to wake up every Sunday morning at 6 a.m. and hit the pavement? Yup. But, living in Boston, I watched the Boston Marathon from the finish line every year, and I saw something that I wanted -- to feel accomplished in a way that I could see on other people's faces when they crossed that finish line. No, not the pain feeling, but the obvious feeling of accomplishment. The feeling of setting a big goal, and kicking it's ass. Even thinking about it now brings a smile to my face. I too wanted to cross the line with my hands in the air and yell "I did it!" I wanted to feel accomplished. That feeling is what got me up at 6 a.m. on Sunday mornings. That feeling is what kept me going when it was freezing outside and I had an 8-mile training run to bang out before my first conference call. But that feeling was all that I had dreamed of, and more, when it happened. That feeling anchored my goal.

Feeling good is what life should be about. Truth. At the core of all our goals is the desire to feel good. More money makes us feel good. A healthy body and mind makes us feel good. Being an active participant in our family life makes us feel good. Therefore, it makes complete sense that if we can identify what feeling good means to us, then set goals that lead us to feel good, inevitably we'll work harder to hit those goals. Right?

Last year, I tested this feeling good thing out and anchored my goals on a few different feelings, one of them being to feel more alive. I used that feeling to vet all my 2014 objectives. Health Goals: I wanted to feel more alive, so I set my goals less around how much I weighed and more around how often I was able to get outside for a run/walk. Inevitably, getting outside more would lead to a healthy weight, but that wasn't my focus -- my focus was to feel more alive. Professional Goals: When it came time to decide where I was going to spend my time marketing my business for 2014, I once again anchored back to the question: What makes me feel most alive? Easy decision -- I would focus on getting exposure for my writing vs. spending more time on social media. See how it works? Line up what you do with how you want to feel.

We accomplish more when what we are doing is getting us closer to how we want to be feeling. This year, when you think about your doing goals for 2015, begin by asking yourself what your feeling goals are. Then use them as your baseline for everything else, because after all, the goal is to feel good.

If You Do Nothing Else...
Have a very happy and healthy holiday season.