Everyone has goals, yet when asked what your goals are in life people often don’t have an answer ready. When you go to a job interview, you probably have answers prepared about your professional goals and aspirations. Why don’t you know your goals for something much more important – your life!
Setting goals is a double-edged sword. By setting goals, you set up a yardstick to measure yourself against in the future. If you do not measure up, are you then a failure? Probably not. But it can be difficult convincing yourself of this. For example, ten years ago I would have said that I would be married and have two kids by now. I don’t. Does that mean I am a failure, or I would have been a failure with such a yardstick in place? I certainly don’t feel like a failure. I’ve been able to experience many other amazing things in the past ten years.
The point is that setting goals for life often involves a gray area, whereas setting goals for your career or job involves more black and white issues. This can be difficult to take into account since we are most often acquainted with the concept of setting goals in our professional lives and improperly carrying those concepts over to our personal lives can be damaging.
People who have ambition are just like everyone else. But they are executing on their goals! Chances are, if you are reading this blog then one of your goals is to be happy. Good! But don’t set such generic goals. Be more specific. Happiness is difficult to measure, though we’re starting to get on the right track. Instead, set a goal like “I want to exercise twice a week” or “I want to take a vacation once per year with weekend getaways every quarter.” Your goals should be tied to your Happiness Plunge! Set your goals according to the experiences you want to maximize in life.
I really like the idea behind this website: www.futureme.org. It allows you to send a letter to yourself in the future. You could use it to set some goals and see how you fare five years from now. You could also write yourself a positive message and then send it to yourself on a random date X months in the future, etc.
To me, setting goals is less about measuring yourself against them and more charting the course you’d like to take in life. Life is a journey. Setting goals is like plotting out the destinations along your trip. Part of the Happiness Plunge is making the decision to be happy and regaining control over your life. Plotting your life journey certainly gives you more control over your life and where you intend to take it. There will be bumps along the way, but knowing what path you want to go down will help you stay focused.
Have you set goals for yourself with regards to your happiness? Share your methodology or story with us below!