There is an excellent article by Martha Beck on this topic: “How ThreeSimple (But Powerful) Words Can Put You On The Path Of Happiness.” She talks about how she helped two women achieve their goals – one hoped to start a business and the other wanted a baby – only to have them end up feeling more distressed afterwards than they were before. The problem was that they hadn’t probed deeper into what they really wanted to experience and how they wanted to feel (in their cases, contentment and being loved.) Instead, they were focused on the situation they wanted to achieve (building a business and having a child.) Unfortunately, reaching their dreams brought them more stress and pressure, rather than contentment and love.
Here is the simple 4-step process Martha outlines in her article that helps you focus on the experience you want to create:
- Think about some dreams or goals that have been on your mind (For example: start a new career, lose weight, become a movie star…) and pick your most ambitious one.
- Imagine what your life would be like if you realized your goal. Really put yourself into it: What does it look like? Who is around you? What do you hear and smell? What are you doing?
- Begin to list adjectives that describe how you feel in your imagined scenario (For example: Energetic, free, secure, understood, relaxed…) Pick the 3 adjectives that describe your feelings the best.
- Focus on anything that can be described with your adjectives. Rather than waiting to achieve the big goal you had outlined, you can start now by focusing on things in your current life that can make you feel that way. This will give you an instant lift and help make you happier right now.
As you go through these steps, you might realize that the big goal you had is only one way to get the experience you really desire, and you may find new ways to feel the way you want. Maybe you’ll realize that the goal isn’t as important as you thought. Or you may still feel that it is important to pursue it, even if there are drawbacks. Either way, now that you know what it is that you really want to experience, you can focus your efforts on what matters the most to you. And the beauty is that you can begin RIGHT NOW!
So here are the 3 adjectives I came up with (with my personal definition):
– Valued (I matter. I am important. I am respected.)
– Productive (I am using my strengths and talents. I am competent. I am helpful.)
– Connected (I collaborate. I belong. I am part of something greater.)
What are your 3 adjectives?
Manuela loves helping professional women bring more balance, happiness and success into their lives! Visit Manuela’s Website for Professional Life Coaching and check our her upcoming “Fall in Love with Yourself – Fall in Love with Your Life” workshop!