1. How do I feel right now?
To me, this is the first step in figuring out what I need - checking in with how I'm feeling. We usually notice a feeling when it is REALLY present - like complete exhaustion, pure joy, overwhelming stress, etc. but with practice we can check-in on the more subtle or nuanced feelings - check out this excerpt from Do Less by Kate Northrup on tuning in to ourselves.
Remember, all feelings are valid! This great Brené Brown Podcast with Mark Brackett (author of Permission to Feel) has other great ideas for getting in touch with our feelings.
It can be helpful to write these down. We can only begin from where we are and acknowledging that is the first step. Then, move on to the next question -
2. How do I WANT to feel?
THIS is where we get to choose - do you want to feel calm? spacious? daring? free? Or maybe you'd like to feel settled, grounded, loving, grateful. Strong or soft. Creative. Caring. (If you want a deep dive into exploring how you want to feel check out The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte.)
Write a few words down! then -
Notice the gap. The difference between where you are and where you want to be. Here's the real work lies. Making daily choices that lead us to feeling the way we WANT to feel. In years of doing this work, I find small replacements of things that are contributing to my current state with things that will create the feelings I want make an enormous difference.
Looking for calm? One idea could be lighting a candle and doing a 2-minute guided meditation instead of checking your phone/email when you first wake up.
Craving creativity? Draw with your toddler instead of scrolling instagram.
How do you want to feel? What's one action you can take today to move in that direction?