Jessica Connor-Kennedy shares tips for setting goals with a focus on feelings and intuition.

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Firstly I want to acknowledge you for choosing to read this article and considering how to better yourself, aka thrive, in some way. Well done!

Holly provided great support in the Setting Goals and Changing Habits blog and here I’ll share how my goal setting approach has become fine-tuned through a focus on feelings and intuition.

For the last 9 years I have planned my personal/professional goals at the start of each year (in addition to facilitating goal workshops for others). In my planning, I focused a lot on where I wanted to be going. Although I was outwardly progressing, the associated motivation and wholeheartedness that I wanted to feel was missing.

I realized I had pinned my hopes on what I thought I wanted and needed to go deeper to uncover what I really wanted, especially in my work life. I learned how to invite even more of the intuitive side of self into goal planning. This helps circumvent some of our social/cultural conditioning about what we think success looks like and helps us be more in touch with our authentic wants. All very important for sustaining a life of activism that is true to yourself.

Alain de Botton shares A Kinder, Gentler Version of Success here:

Here are my top 6 goal planning steps.

1. Begin with acceptance

I believe that you are always on the path you need to be on, always in the perfect place, and that we can reflect on the path to either be more purposeful on it, or to invite some redirection. Try inviting the following feeling into every cell in your body ~ wherever you are right now, is exactly where you need to be. Starting goal setting from a point of disliking life as it currently is, desperate grasping towards something other than what you have, or resisting your feelings will lead to more of the same.

2. Focus on how you want to be

Consider how you want to feel and be in life. You are a human-being, not a human-doing. Setting the foundations for goal setting with a focus on feelings helps to break the spell of the societal versions of success that many of us tend to unconsciously strive towards (or away from). Consider, what are the key feelings I would like to have more present in my daily life? Choose 3-5 to work with. Danielle LaPorte’s Core Desired Feelings process describes the benefits of feelings-based goal setting here and provides an outline of how to do it.

3. Go where your energy is – what is your version of success?

Once you have considered how you want to be/feel then from here you can ask yourself, what might I create in my life that would help these feelings be more present? What goals would support that?

4. Choose only a few goals from the above question and flesh them out

Work with only one, maybe two or three goals at a time. Choose the ones that resonate most strongly. Flesh out the small steps required to get you there.

5. Review them regularly

Keep your goals and core desired feelings visible, beside your desk, bed, in your wallet and review them. Are these goals still needed? Are there any tweaks required?

6. Celebrate

Perhaps most importantly, remember your achievements. This will help build confidence and momentum in your life. Regularly ask, what have I achieved this month? What were my successes? You may even give yourself a gift such as a walk in nature or a delicious meal.


Please note: Goal setting can be challenging at times. If you are experiencing low emotions more than usual, talk to your GP about a mental health assessment. At the time of writing there is Medicare funding available for 10 free sessions with a registered counselor or psychologist via GP referral.

JessicaConnorKennedy_pic2About the author

Jessica helps people who want to find their feet again whether in their career, during a phase of change or as personal growth so they can make the contribution that they most want to make to the world. Her consultations with people happen privately, in not-for-profits, schools and in government, as a coach, program facilitator and through teaching mindfulness and other strategies for personal balance.

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