This is a special quote that sang to my soul the first time I heard it in my 20s as Phish played in the background of my jeep . My initial thought was “YES- I want to set my gearshift for the high gear of my soul!”, my next thought was how the heck can I do that?! I learned quickly that it is not the giant leaps one takes, but really the small steps and turns on your path that creates the journey. Although, to be successful you have to set your “gear shift” to match your soul or passion that breathes life inside each of us.

The first step in what we (therapists) call intrinsic goal setting is to think about the BIG achievements for your lifetime or at some point in the future. This allows you to make specific choices to lead you on the journey to your northstar or life’s goal. An individual working towards their northstar creates purpose, joy and excitement for life which promotes happiness and healthy living. To begin, identify specific areas of your life that you would like to cultivate in order to achieve your overall lifetime goals or northstar. Here are a few thought provoking questions/statements to get you started:

  1. What kind of career sparks passion in your heart when you speak of it, read about it or seek employment in the field? Are you working towards gaining employment in that field now? Why not? What beliefs are stopping you?
  2. Do you want to explore more education to reach your career goals? What diploma do you need for it? Is there a higher institution that offers the degree you will need to obtain the career?
  3. Financially what is the impact of pursuing this degree to reach your goal? How will obtaining this new career and education impact you financially? How will being more financially aware of your current situation enable you to plan for a bright future?
  4. Family goals: Do you want to improve your current relationships with your partner and children? How do you want to parent your child? How do you plan on balancing being a parent but also creating a relationship with your children so they can be open with you about their struggles and wins?
  5. What mental and physical goals do you have for yourself? How do you wish to grow emotionally and physically as you age? How can you reach these goals? What little steps can you take each day to move closer to the vision you have for yourself? What habits can you put in place? Do you have any limiting beliefs about yourself? Do you have any spiritual beliefs to guide you on your mental and physical journey?
  6. Friendships: How are you growing your circle of friends to develop deeper relationships with people? Are you involved in the community you live in? Do you volunteer? Do you find yourself laughing with friends and family? Do you enjoy the social interactions you have on a daily basis? We are a social species that derives joy from our interpersonal relationships.

Your therapist or coach can help you develop your small daily steps to lead you to the giant leaps of creating your reality and a future that sings to your soul. The band Phish will always hold a special place in my heart as that one line set me off on a journey of exploration to seek out my personal legend or purpose. I hope you grow your personal northstar and reach for it.

Written by:
Danielle B. Stanley, LCSW
Certified Positive Psychology Coach