Can Goal Setting be the secret to happiness?

Most people have new year’s resolutions.  This will be my year to lose weight, write a book, go back to school, pay down my debt – but 2 weeks into the new year, these resolutions are all but forgotten. 

Every year we think things are going to be different but they’re not. 

How can we change that so this year you accomplish 5 – 7 goals and continue the momentum so next year things really are different?

First take some time to think about what you would like to accomplish.  The next 30 days are going to happen whether you focus on something or not.  Why not decide where you will be and what your life will look like in 30 days and start working towards that decision.

Once you’ve decided where you’d like to be in 30 days, write it down.  You’ve probably heard of smart goals – specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time bound. 

Write your goal in a way that you know you accomplished something and set yourself up for success. 

Using weight loss as an example, a SMART goal would look like this:

I will lose 10 pounds by the end of March

This goal is well written as a SMART goal. 

Specfic and Measurable – lose 10 pounds

Actionable – I will lose – not I want to lose or I can lose but I WILL lose

Realistic – This is less than 1 pound / week (assuming this is a goal set at the new year)

Time bound – by the end of March

At Active Souls we see women every day who come in with that exact goal. We ask them to write it down and tell us and how they’ll feel when they reach it.

Most can tell us their goal but it gets a little harder to talk about how they will feel when they accomplish their goal.  They haven’t taken the time to internalize it.  They haven’t thought about it and made it real. 

It’s thinking about:

  • walking into you’re favorite restaurant to meet your friends and knowing you look fabulous.
  • Or going to your doctor and having her ask you what you’ve been eating because all your numbers are in the acceptable range and you can stop taking some of your medications.
  • Or having your grandson ask you to play catch with him and you can actually do it without getting tired in the first 5 minutes.

How will you FEEL when you accomplish your goal? 

Setting a goal means changing behaviors.  We get into a comfortable routine and we all have habits that we fall back on.  Until we are willing and ready to change, no amount of SMART goal setting will get us into a new routine. 

Did you know the practice of goal-setting is a pre-requisite for happiness?  People who make consistent progress toward meaningful goals live happier, more satisfied lives than those who don’t. 

Setting SMART goals and writing them down will help you reach your goals, but knowing what you want your life to look like is the first step to setting the right goals and accomplishing them.

Think about what your life could look like, set SMART goals, and get to work.  You’ll be happier and more satisfied with your life.