Using the desire map methodology to set goals

As a certified Wellness Coach, when Pamela Durant discovered the desire map methodology, she was so excited. It was a unique approach to coaching that really went deeper than just setting goals. This opened up the missing link for so many people in their personal goal setting. There are great benefits to using the desire map methodology to set goals, since doing so she has not looked back.

So what exactly is Desire Mapping? Think of it as happiness mapping, but deeper. It is a feelings-based approach to goal setting. In traditional goal setting, we so often set goals based on what we think we want or should be doing – or even based on what others expect from us and tell us to do. But why is it that when we target all the great things that society and trends suggest we go after, we often do not feel excited about it? Or, we achieve the goal and we are not any happier?

Why? Because we are chasing the wrong thing.  We are not listening to what we want or need. If we take how we want to feel into consideration, we’ll choose things that make us happy and fill us with joy.

Although it sounds quite simple, it can feel overwhelming at first. It is not always easy to know what we want to feel when we are constantly bombarded with messages that tell us how we should feel.

And let’s face it. Mums are people pleasers. We take care of everyone else and their feelings. While there is a lot of satisfaction in this most important job in the world, it is also important to give yourself some attention and tune into what you want.

So where to begin? When setting goals based on feelings, here are a few tips to get you going:

Be specific about what you want

Want to be happy? Who doesn’t want to be happy? We all do! Happiness is defined so differently from one person to the next, so make sure you define YOUR happiness. Be really specific and put a feeling word to it. In Desire Mapping, we call these “Core Desired Feelings”. Pull out a thesaurus and search the meaning and synonyms of those words and see how those resonate with you. You will absolutely know when a word resonates with you because you will feel it.

Set Specific Goals

Once you are clear on how you want to feel, set some goals to move in that direction.  When you set a goal, be clear and specific. Let’s say you want to run a marathon to support a Core Desired Feeling of “endurance”, “fortitude” or “bravery”.  Don’t just say you will run a marathon. Get specific and commit. Openly declare which marathon you will run and on what day. Once you have done this, declare the tasks you need to achieve to get you to marathon day.  For example, this would be the number of times you will run on which days of the week and how far.  The more specific, the more likely you will achieve your goal.

Be ready to do the work  

Just because we choose something that is going to give us joy does not always mean reaching the goal, or living out that truth will always be easy. In our marathon example, you must get out and do the work. If you show up to run a marathon with no training, it will not likely go well. Your chances of finishing will not be too high if you are not prepared. You must train for it, but some days you will not feel like training, or it may not feel so easy. You need to be sure that you enjoy running (the work required to achieve the goal) because not every day is going to feel like cute kittens and rainbows. Even after the worst run, you should still want to get back out there and continue heading toward the bigger goal. If every fibre of you hates running, then you might want to revisit why you are doing it. Is it aligned with your personal Core Desired Feelings? If so, then pushing through the challenges are possible.

Gratitude contributes to happiness

There is scientific evidence that the more you cultivate gratitude, the happier you will be. For some people, this is done in a gratitude journal or writing gratitude letters to people whom they are grateful for. One of my favourite ways to do this is to keep a gratitude jar.  Write down three things every day (or almost every day) you are grateful for and put it in a jar. At the end of the year take some time to re-read everything you experienced that year. It will truly fill your heart with joy and gratitude to relive those moments daily and collectively at the end of the year.

Get an accountability partner

It may be in the form of a coach, or it could be a trusted friend. We are social creatures. There is even scientific evidence that we can be happier and healthier if we have deep, meaningful relationships with people. Declaring your goals and checking in with someone who will support you on your journey will increase your success – and possibly improve your health!

Learn how to say “NO”

As I said before, mums are people pleasers. How many times how you found yourself overwhelmed with everything you need to get done? Try saying “no” more often. Get really clear on your areas of priority because life is full of wonderful projects and opportunities. Those “opportunities” that come up which do not serve you or your priority areas, you can kindly, unapologetically say “no”.

You can start setting goals and tapping into your Core Desired Feelings at any time. You do not need to wait for a new year, a new month, new week, a birthday or any particular sign to declare how you want to feel and start settings goals to get there. And why would you want to wait to become the best version of yourself and feel how you want to feel?

As Danielle Laporte, the creator of the Desire Map says, “Knowing how you want to feel is the most potent form of clarity you can have”.

So what are you waiting for?


Article by Pamela Durant – Founder & Managing Director of DiapointME. Certified Wellness Coach, Licensed Desire Map & Fire Starter Facilitator