When making changes or plans in our lives, most of us start by focusing on the things we want. I want more family vacations, I want a flexible schedule, I want regular family dinners, I want to live in that neighborhood. But when we focus on the things rather than the feelings we run the risk of making the wrong choices, spending a lot of money, and not being any happier or any more fulfilled.
Because things are just that, things; what the things represent are the feelings or emotions we think we will achieve by having those things.
How Do You Want to Feel?
So rather than starting with the things we want, let’s start with the feelings we want. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Example #1 – Creating a Family Vision
How do you want to feel when you are with your family?
Loved, supported, excited, safe
What are the things that will help you experience those feelings?
Words of I love you, cheers from the sidelines, fun family outings and vacations, a secure home without fighting.
Example #2 – Changing Jobs
How do you want to feel while at work?
Fulfilled, significance, calm, excited, secure
What are the things that will help you experience these feelings?
Assignments that use by best skills, my work being recognized and used to help make decisions, people asking for and listening to my recommendations, flexible work schedules so I can more easily balance work and home, a fast pace with a variety of assignments, a financially profitable company in a growing industry.
Example #3 – Changing Your Family Schedule
How do you want to feel at the end of your day?
Content, relaxed, fulfilled, and connected
What are the things or activities that will help you experience those feelings?
Time to get things done, time for me to work on my personal interests, time to hang with my family, good communication about what is going on, an updated family calendar with our commitments.
Consider All the Options
One thing to keep in mind when going through this exercise is there is usually more than one option for achieving the feeling you are going after. For example, if you want to feel connected to your kids, family dinners are ONE way to do this, but may not be the BEST way for you and your family at the current time. Maybe regular family nights on Fridays or Sunday morning brunches would work better for you. Try and keep an open mind and look at all the possibilities.
Remember, start with how you want to feel and the right things will follow.
Wishing you all the best,