Not your usual New Year’s Resolution post | fitness goals with soul

This is not your usual New Year’s Resolution post (and not just because it’s the third week of January…). No resolutions will be made. Nor will there be any mention of S.M.A.R.T. goals.

In my experience, most resolutions and fitness goals tend to be superficial, guided by ’needs’, ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’ (“I need to lose 20 pounds”) rather than a true understanding of what will really make a difference in the goal-setter’s life and how they’ll feel when they finally achieve them (“I’ll feel strong and self-confident and know that I can tackle any problem life throws at me”).

I call this ‘finding your why’ (and have written an e-book that just might help you find yours; download your free copy here) and encourage my clients to dig a little deeper and uncover theirs when setting new fitness goals and intentions.

Recently, I attended an all-day workshop based on Danielle Laporte’s best-selling book, The Desire Map: A guide to Creating Goals with Soul.

fitness goals

The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul


The book is based on her experience helping life-coaching clients and entrepreneurs find clarity around the question “how do I want to feel in my life?”.

She argues that what we’re all really striving for is more ‘good’ feelings and that knowing how you want to feel is the most powerful way to achieve your life goals and dreams. Sure, resolutions and goals and intentions are fine, but marry them to the feelings you’d like to experience and the sky’s’ the limit.

You’re not chasing the goal, you’re chasing a feeling you hope reaching the goal will give you ~ Danielle Laporte

The book outlines a series of exercises designed to help the reader ‘get clear’ on those feelings they want to experience (their ‘Core Desired Feelings’) in five areas of their life, one of which is Body & Wellness (and includes things like fitness, food, rest and relaxation, mental health and movement). Part of the process is winnowing the list of CDF’s down to just three (three! I started with a list of 20!) and exploring what one might do (i.e., create an action plan) to experience more of those feelings on a daily basis.

I could write a novel about the workshop I attended and how I came up with my three Core Desired Feelings. But because this is a fitness website and most of you won’t stick around for more than about 800 words 😉 I’ll limit this post to sharing my ‘feeling words’ with you, explaining how they’re relevant to my fitness goals and talking a bit about how I intend to get more of those feelings in 2015.

WARNING: The following is a bit more ‘touchy-feely’ than most of the posts on this site. Tread lightly 🙂

Appreciation: Working in this fitness industry, it’s easy to get sucked into comparing yourself with others. There will always be people who can run faster, lift heavier, do more pushups and look better in a bathing suit than I do. I need to practice appreciating my current level of fitness. Allowing myself to feel good about what’s going well, rather than focussing on what still needs work. That doesn’t mean being complacent and ‘settling’. It just means “meeting myself where I’m at”.

Connection: While it may sound strange given that I work in a social fitness environment (and that I’m always encouraging others to ‘find their tribe’), I don’t have a fitness tribe of my own. When I exercise with friends, I’m the ‘trainer’. When I participate in other instructors’ group fitness classes, I’m a colleague. When I exercise on my own, I’m trainer/friend/colleague/gym staff. I want to feel like I’m part of a group. People who are all looking to inspire, motivate and support one another to achieve more. I experienced this sense of connection and community several years ago when I trained at another facility. I’m looking into going back.

Ease: While fitness is already a habit for me, there are still some road blocks preventing me from making the process simple and automatic. This year I’m looking for ‘ease’. Not to be confused with ‘easy’, ease is all about reducing the activation energy required to make things happen. That means working on a program that’s designed specifically for me, perhaps by another trainer at the facility I mentioned above (personal trainers need personal trainers too). It also means creating a workout schedule for myself that’s impervious to my clients’ requests for extra sessions or changes in their training times.

fitness goals

We created a ‘Core Desired Feelings’ memento by choosing one charm to represent each of our stated Core Desired Feelings.


And because the best way to get more of the feelings you want is to create those feelings in others, I’ll also be focusing on mirroring Appreciation, Connection and Ease;

  • Although feel very appreciative of my clients and class participants, I need to verbalize that appreciation more by letting them know that I value their energy, enthusiasm, perseverance and presence in my life.
  • I want to create more of a feeling of connection in my group fitness peeps by ensuring that everybody feels welcome in my classes. I’m going to focus on learning new participants’ names and expanding my circle of focus within the class to include participants I don’t already know well (Krys and Linda, that means you’ll be off the hook…).
  • Creating a feeling of ease for others by providing simple and clear cut instructions and meeting my clients where they are, not where I think they should be.
Now it’s your turn.

I challenge you to identify 2 or 3 feelings around fitness and health that you’d like to experience more of in 2015.

What will you do to get them? How might they help you achieve the goals and resolutions you’ve set for yourself?




  1. O I like this! I think I want to feel more “effective” like I’m giving it my best shot every time and “connect” even more with my awareness of my body during my movements!

    • Those are great words Rebecca! Try seeing how they feel in other areas of your life too, like personal relationships and work. It’s really a perspective-changing exercise! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. This is a great way to look at it Tamara! I have to admit, my goal right now of “toning up” is not only superficial but totally vague. I need to find that space where I was naturally fit and enjoying the feelings as you say.
    Alisa @ Go Dairy Free recently posted…Creamy Anti-Inflammatory Salad Dressing or SauceMy Profile

  3. Such a good post! The workshop sounds like it was worth your time and investment. The buzz words for 2015 seem to be “emotions” and “narrative.” Desires and the feelings we seek are tied into purpose, don’t you think? I am working on defining my life purpose and going through some of your same processes. Now to think of my words……
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted…Fitness Fears and Motivators: Tell Us YoursMy Profile

    • It does seem like the fitness industry is going through a bit of a change, becoming more holistic and mindset focused. I think it’s great. Less 6-pack abs, more self-compassion and personal growth!

  4. i love this Tamara. I’ve had her book forever but haven’t found the time (really made the time) to work through it. The idea of identifying our core desired feelings is something that’s so powerful. I love the feelings that you’ve identified.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…What ingredients make up your wellness story?My Profile

  5. I have never thought of applying my Desire Map learnings to my fitness. I use it mostly in my freelance goals. Thanks for giving me a new outlook on it.
    Nicki recently posted…This and That 1 in 2015My Profile

    • You’re very welcome! It’s funny because as we worked through the worksheets in the book, I found it easiest to apply the ideas to fitness and health, but terribly difficult to apply them to relationships and spirituality… I’m sure that says something about what I need to work on… 😉

  6. One I can think of off the top of my head is feeling grateful. I get so caught up in wanting to set PRs (whether weight lifting or running), same with comparing to others, that I forget I should be grateful that I can even do these activities. My body can do some amazing things, and I need to remember that next time I’m down on myself for not being able to run a sub-2 half marathon anytime soon!
    Patty @ Reach Your Peak recently posted…Trying Something NewMy Profile

  7. Oh
    CARLA recently posted…A day in my life.My Profile

  8. I love this post! I find that being a part of the running/racing community gives me my “tribe”. Even though I may be the one with the background/education in fitness among my group, their experience and speed often teach me a thing or two (or more!) I like that we all have our place in the “tribe” , it is definitely my second family!
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  9. I know what you mean about not having a “fitness tribe.” I recently joined a gym where no one has a clue where I am and a fellow member was showing me pictures of their puppy today … I had to laugh, that just never happens as one peer to another.
    Lisa Johnson recently posted…Cross-Training to Reduce InjuryMy Profile

  10. Very interesting. I’m not good at setting any types of goals, and this seems even harder! I seem to live more by the “just do it” principle.
    Coco recently posted…No Excuses? No Problem!My Profile

    • Interesting! I actually found it very easy (although cutting the list of feelings down to only 3 was a bit of a challenge), and I’m not usually a touchy-feeling type of person! I bet you could think of three feelings that you’d like to experience daily… give it a try!