Meaningful Goal Setting: A Journey Through the Senses

Meaningful goal setting: memories and goals Image generated by Runway ( using prompt 'memories and goals'


Goal setting has always been a pivotal strategy for personal and professional growth. Yet, not all goals are equal in their impact. To truly tap into your potential and create a life of purpose, it’s essential to engage your senses and emotions when setting goals. In this article, we’ll delve into the art of meaningful goal setting by immersing yourself in deep feelings and memories, powering your journey towards success.

Core Values and Meaningful Goal Setting

Selecting core values is pivotal in aligning your goals with your authentic self. Here’s a list of values to inspire you:

Open-mindednessResourcefulnessZest for life

Engaging Your Senses and Memories

  1. Quiet Contemplation: Dedicate time for introspection, away from distractions. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and let your mind drift through memories. Allow your mind to linger on those moments that stirred your emotions, whether positive or otherwise. From these memories, consider when were you happiest? When were you most fulfilled and proud?
  2. Discovering Patterns: As you delve into your emotions and memories, search for recurring themes. Are there certain aspects that consistently evoke strong feelings? These patterns are windows into your core values and passions.
  3. Capturing Memories: Use a journal to record your goal-setting journey. Write about those experiences that left indelible imprints. Describe the sights, sounds, scents, tastes, and textures associated with these memories. The goal is to transport yourself back in time and relive those moments vividly. Notice sensations in your body as you relive the memories… where do you feel it? Does it evoke shape and colour?

These are the values that totally, viscerally mean the most to you. Write them down and remind yourself of them often. When you have an important decision to make, bring these values to mind to help steer the way.

Identifying Core Values

  1. Quick Highlight: After reawakening these memories, quickly highlight the values (say, 15-20) that stand out to you. These are the ones that resonate deeply with your experience. It’s important not to overthink this – allow your subconscious to lead the way. This will be easier if the list above is printed or pasted into a document so you can easily highlight the values that jump out.
  2. Prioritising Shortlist: Taking the highlighted values, reorder them with those that you feel strongest about at the top. These values are the ones that truly connect with your core.
  3. Top 10: From your shortlist, select the top 10 values that align most closely with your emotions and memories. Review the prioritised order, re-imagining your powerful memories as you do so.
  4. Top 5: Now, from your top 10 values, further refine your list to the top 5 values that truly capture your essence and aspirations.
  5. Your values: Well done! These are the values that totally, viscerally mean the most to you. Write them down and remind yourself of them often. When you have an important decision to make, bring these values to mind to help steer the way.

Crafting Tangible Goals from Emotions and Values

  1. Align goals with values and purpose: Now you know the values that really matter to you, use them to create and validate your goals – whether long, medium or short term. Test the goals with your values in mind to ensure the goals are ‘true’ to your purpose.
  2. Visualization for Clarity: Close your eyes and envision a future where you’ve realized your aspirations. Immerse yourself in the experience—how do the sights, sounds, and emotions feel? Visualization lends tangibility to your goals.
  3. SMART Goals Reimagined: Apply the SMART framework (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) to your goals, but infuse them with the sensory and emotional experiences you’ve uncovered. This union of logic and feeling creates powerful momentum.
  4. Language with Emotion: When articulating your goals, use language that resonates with your emotions. For instance, if your goal is to travel, describe the thrill of exploring new landscapes and cultures.

The Transformative Impact of Meaningful Goal Setting

Meaningful goals inherently motivate you. They infuse purpose into your actions, propelling you forward even when challenges arise. Goals rooted in emotions and experiences foster resilience where setbacks are lessons, not roadblocks. Setting goals in this way aligns your actions with your genuine self, fostering authenticity and overall well-being.


Meaningful goal setting is more than a checklist; it is a doorway to a life of significance and contentment. By engaging your senses, diving into emotions and memories, and selecting core values, you unearth insights that guide you towards aspirations that truly matter. It’s not about the quantity of goals; it’s about the quality of your journey. Embark on this inward odyssey, uncover your passions, and set goals that resonate with your very being.

Author’s note

Image created using Runway (, leg work by ChatGPT 3.5, concepts and editing by Matt Green