As we embark on a new year, it is only natural for most of us to be somewhat introspective and to do our own personal "year-in-review." We evaluate our successes, what we might do differently and hopefully what we learned. We assess where we are and what we want to create by asking ourselves powerful questions, like: "Am I on the right path?" "Am I happy?" and a question I hear more and more frequently, "Am I creating the life I even want?"

If you are reading this, chances are you are a person who is self-reflective and interested in continued self-growth, evolution and "being the best you can be." But even for those of us on this path, I am sure there are days when you wake up to your positive affirmations, vision boards, inventory of goals and resolutions, and your daily "to-do" lists, and wonder, "What am I doing all of this for?" "What is it I am chasing?"

Although these questions may feel heavy at first, they are there to serve your highest. They arise from the stirrings of your soul and are generally wrapped in your feelings of discontent. For many the voice of discontent starts off as a subtle murmur. It can be easy to ignore because you are caught up in the rhythm of going, doing and achieving. But with time the thrill of the chase and even the applause of the accomplishments can't diminish that gnawing feeling that you are stuck on a treadmill trying to run as fast as you can, make others happy, fulfill someone else's dream or satisfy some picture of what your life "should be." And the good news, (yes, I said "good news") is that at some point the voice of your discontent will become so great, the pain will become so palpable, that you will no longer be able to ignore, deny or numb that voice inside. Instead it will capture your full attention and demand that you do something different. It will insist that you take the time to stop running as fast as you can for as many miles as you can and instead step off of the treadmill and reconnect!

You must reconnect to a source deep inside of yourself rather than referring to the same old list of goals to be achieved, milestones to be marked, and "shoulds" to be accomplished -- a list created by your ego or should I say your wounded ego. If you really want to create a life that lights you up, you need to reconnect with your soul.

Suffering, pain and discontent are all signs that you are creating a life based on your wounded ego's desires rather than your soul's path. They are there to wake you up and let you know that you have lost sight of your soul's dream; that you have strayed from your highest path. Your soul (also referred to as your divine, higher, sacred, or authentic self) knows exactly how to make your life a magical wonderland. When you are in sync with your soul's desires, you don't feel compelled to create a persona, be someone that you are not, or prove to the outer world how great your life is. When living in union with your soul's path, life flows. There is no ache for more, better or different! You will come from a place of inner certainty and an unapologetic aliveness that lights you up and illuminates a path for others. When you follow your soul, you will create a life you want and love.

So at this very fertile time of the new year, take time to tune into your voice of discontent, disenchantment or even defeat. Identify the areas and situations in your life, where these feelings exist and recognize that these are actually the cries of your soul letting you know that it is wanting and aching for something more -- a "something more" that only you can give to you! For as we all know, "If you do not go within, you go without!"

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Take time to get quiet and reconnect.

(2) Think about the different areas of your life and allow yourself to feel the feelings that emerge as you reflect on those areas. Which are the areas or situations where you feel discontent, suffering or that gnawing feeling that something is off?

(3) Identify what your wounded ego is telling you that you should be doing or accomplishing in those areas of your life. What are the stories you tell yourself about what you "should be" doing or accomplishing in your life?

(4) Take a few deep breaths, feel the breath connect with your heart, and ask yourself, "What is for my soul aching to create or experience in this situation or area of my life?"

(5) Just listen and trust!

Author's Bio: 

Kelley Kosow is a Master Integrative Life Coach, CEO & Program Leader of The Ford Institute. She is a leader and teacher of emotional education, shadow work, and personal mastery.

In 2007, Kelley joined The Ford Institute staff. She was hand-picked and personally trained by the late Debbie Ford to lead her programs and continue the legacy of her life-changing work. Known as a “coach’s coach,” Kelley works with individuals, groups and corporations world-wide.

Kelley is a graduate of Brown University and University of Miami Law School. Kelley has been featured in local and national media. Oprah Magazine named Kelley as someone who could “Dream it, Do it.” She has been featured in In Style, People, NY and LA Times, and Conde Nast Traveler.

Kelley is working on her first book on Integrity.