Life Design Coach and creator of The SELF Approach™

This is my corner of the web where I share unfiltered advice, practical tools, and laughter at life's sometimes fuckedupedness - all meant to help you live & love the absolute hell out of yourself and your life.

I'm Jen Vertanen

Hey hey!

A beautiful older woman in sunglasses and a hat carrying a cup of a coffee and a blue circle with the words What Are Your Core Desired Feelings?

5 Actionable Steps for Unlocking Your Core Desired Feelings


Start with Desire; How Do I Want to Feel?

Start with Desire is the first S in the The SELF Approach™ and a client favorite. I mean…who doesn’t want to live a life led by desire and possibility?

Yes – even in midlife! Especially in midlife? I’m going with it.

One of the tools we use is identifying our core desired feelings. Core desired feelings is not a new concept by any means. It was first made popular by Danielle LaPorte over a decade ago in her book, The Desire Map.

I’ve put my own twist on it which you’ll find below.



The work of identifying your core desired feelings is asking the question:

How do you really want to feel?

Deep down, in your bones…what makes you come alive, feel safe, lit up by your life?

Regardless of your to-list and hard relationships and chasing things that make us feel “happy”, what is your soul craving, begging to feel?

Your job is to listen and lean into those desires and I’m going to show you how but first…

My Own Core Desired Feelings

Every day I spend about 5 minutes (seriously – that’s all it takes!) in the morning, reflecting on my own core desired feelings.

Mine currently are:

✨ Lit up from the inside out

✨ Nurtured + nourished

✨ Emotionally, mentally, + physically well

✨ Vibrant + alive

✨ Cherished + supported

✨ Safe enough to take up space

Each of these has been carefully chosen to help support the best version of my current and future self. Every morning I check in to make sure I’m aligned to these desires, or not and if not, what do I want to incorporate into my day to move me towards my desires?

This has me always orienting back to my desires which is a much more…pleasant way to live. Less auto-pilot, more intention FTW!

Let’s get started identifying yours.

5 Actionable Steps for Identifying Your Core Desired Feelings

1. What Do You Truly Desire?

Forget what others want for you. What do you want for you? Put on some focus music, set a timer for 15-30 minutes, grab your special pen and journal, and stream-of-conscious riff on whatever comes up for you.

No judging and no editing. This is your soul speaking and it’s hardly ever neat and tidy. Don’t let your dick brain trick you into thinking there’s a “right” way…there isn’t.

If it helps, you can think in terms of these five categories:

  1. Livelihood and lifestyle
  2. Body and wellness
  3. Creativity and learning
  4. Relationship and society
  5. Spirituality

If these don’t resonate, you are more than welcome to identify your own categories. Get creative and have fun with this!

2. Look for the Clues

Set the timer for 10-15 minutes and go back through what you wrote. What stands out to you? What are the breadcrumbs to follow…the threads to pull?

Highlight these…they’re important. Breathe into them…take a deep breath and repeat each one in your head (or out loud!) and see how it feels in your body.

Does it make your heart leap? Your pulse quicken? Give you butterflies in your stomach?

Take note of these somatic feelings…they’re additional clues on what your soul most desires to feel. If you read one and it feels rather flat in your body…hard pass and move on!

3. Get Specific; Why Is This Feeling Important To You?

Take those clues from step 2 and start drilling down. Ask yourself:

  • Why is this important to me?
  • What does it really really mean to me?
  • What becomes possible in my life when I feel this way?

For example, you may have highlighted the word adventurous a few times. Why? And then why? And then why one more time.

My definition of adventurous is going to be different than yours. Your definition is what matters here…not mine or anyone else’s. The more specific you can get, the better you’re able to use these core desired feelings to orient your life towards feeling good and desire.

Keep going until you’ve identified 4-6 core desired feelings for yourself.

4. Make a List; What Is Going to Help You Feel That Way?

Take your list from step 3 and start getting specific. What does it look like to practice each of these? What activities support each feeling? Where might you need support from someone outside of yourself?

For example, one of mine is to feel nurtured and nourished. I know that I feel both when I do at least 10 minutes of yoga during my day and don’t drink wine every night.

Seriously – that’s how simple doing this work in your day-to-day can be.

Get creative and have fun. You’re going to hear this a lot from me. Give yourself the gift to dream in possibilities and then find things within the context of your life that are the next best thing.

5. Living Your Core Desired Feelings

The last step to unlocking your core desired feelings is to actually live them, i.e. incorporate them into your day-to-day life. Make your choices and decisions by checking in – does this align with my core desired feelings…or not?

It’s time to be specific and realistic and experiment.

Like I said above, I check in with myself each morning to see if I’m living my core desired feelings and if not, where I might need to make an adjustment or two for the day.

I use my core desired feelings to help me make decisions – both in the minutia and in the bigger picture of what I want from my life.

I then check in around quarterly to see if my core desired feelings still feel true for me or if it’s time to find some new ones.

Taking This Work Further

I have a Pinterest board with my core desired feelings but you can also make a fun collage, put reminders on your phone, use your fave red lipstick and put them on your mirror, whathaveyou.

Do whatever is going to help you keep these front and center because I PROMISE – living intentionally trumps living on auto-pilot each and every time.

Action Time!

It’s time to take some action now! Spend some time coming up with your core desired feelings and then come share them with me on Insta so I can help support you!

jen v. xo

Hey there!

I'm a magical mix of coach, perspective-shifting mentor, hair-holder, consultant, wing woman, get shit done'r, silver lining finder, & slightly annoying cheerleader

I'm Jen Vertanen, Make Shit Happen Coach + creator of The Fuck Yeah Methodology

I used to roll my eyes at the notion of self love and loving my life because it felt so far outside the realm of possibilities. I thought both were saved for those who'd escaped childhood unscathed.

But a perfect storm in 2015 had me wake TF up and heal my childhood ish. Along the way, I started to not only love but LIKE myself and I stopped wanting to escape from my life and instead, intentionally create my exciting future. That's saying a lot when you read my stories!

And now? I get to help women all around the world fall in love with themselves, their lives, and create the future THEY want. How cool is that?!?

© 2024 Jen Vertanen & A Fuck Yeah Life

An ADHD &  LGBTQ woman owned business