One of the most simple yet profound shifts I’ve made in the last couple of years has been thanks to Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map, in which she suggests that we replace our focus on goals and achievements with the question, “How do I want to feel?”

Not just, “How do I want to feel when I get to that endpoint?” but “How do I want to feel every step of the way?” Danielle suggests that will never feel the way we want to feel when we get to Point B unless every choice we make along the way aligns with our core desired feelings.

I’ve been taking this to heart as I planned my summer vacation. I have a tendency to view my vacations in an oddly goal-oriented way: The goal is to relax, dammit! And maybe to pack as much fun as I possibly can into a limited number of days.

Of course, relaxation and fun are pretty vague goals, and they’re essentially process-oriented. The trouble is, I sometimes forget what actually find relaxing and fun and get caught up in doing things that are supposed to be fun. (Enter Gretchen Rubin’s excellent commandment, to “Be Gretchen” – and stop wishing that you enjoyed things you simply do not.)

So rather than making concrete plans for my vacation, I’ve decided to begin each day with a meditation on my core desired feelings, and to take steps to, well, feel them.

My core desired feelings are Freedom, Alignment, Conviviality, Evolution, and Delight. So I’ll be dreaming up activities that make me feel those things – rather than aiming for the elusive “relaxation” or “fun.”

So here’s your curiosity experiment for this week:

  • How do you want to feel on your summer vacation (or your next day off, or whenever your next available chunk of unstructured time might be)?
  • What kinds of activities support you in experiencing those feelings?
  • What helps you remember to check in with yourself about enjoying the process as well as the outcome?

Note: I’m a friend of Danielle’s as well as a fan, and I’m a proud affiliate for her work. I’m very choosy about doing the affiliate thing: I only do it when I have complete confidence in the quality and integrity of the stuff I’m helping to sell, and I think it will be of interest to my readers. I’ve known Danielle for over a decade, I trust her integrity, and I love her work. I hope you will, too.