Goal-setting helps us achieve happiness!
When we have something in our lives we are working toward, our happiness is greatly enhanced. If you think about it, the happy people that you know probably have goals. I am not asking you to decide to be president or anything. Just choose a goal or two that you care to achieve, and figure out why you care so much about them. This consequently will play a role in you feeling better :).
At Stanford, Dr. Laura Cartensen’s (1995) research talks about how socio-emotional selectivity theory suggests that older people learn to structure their lives and pursue particular goals that maximize positive emotions. (Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D., 2005) This is consistent with what I teach, which is that people can actually learn to increase their happiness to a sustainable level. Further support for this notion comes from results of a study by happiness researchers Dr. Sheldon and Dr. Kasser (2001), which showed that age-related increases in well-being are in part mediated by willful changes, including older people’s ability to select more enjoyable and self-appropriate goals. (Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D., 2005) In other words, our elders have found a way to choose goals they enjoy and that fit appropriately with the things they care about in life. We need to learn to do this, too, and as soon as possible, because the sooner we figure it out, the closer we will be to feeling better!
Goal-setting has been a part of my life since childhood. I started playing soccer at the age of six and we were always taught to be the best players and the best team we could be. By the time I was fourteen, I made the Olympic development team, which further fueled my desire to be the best soccer player I could be. We were always having tryouts and games, and completing individual performance goals. I played soccer competitively until I was nineteen. So for those thirteen years the concept of goal-setting and goal-achieving was really imbedded in my daily life through school and athletics.
Now, I have a goal to help millions of people live happier lives. This goal helps fuel my energy, effort, passion, and devotion to my cause every day, so that I can do whatever I need to do to achieve this goal.
Of course this is a long-term goal, and this long-term goal has many short-term goals associated with it. The short-term goals include writing this blog, creating and starring in my vision of a prime-time network award winning show that teaches the audience how to be happy, teaching and performing happiness exercises in world organizations, i.e. the United Nations, World Bank, European Union, etc., I also plan to set up Happiness Centers in each country that are responsible for working to increase the country’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index...
As you can see, I have my work cut out for me and I am working to achieve those happiness goals every day and every minute of my life! Not only does this help me feel intrinsic motivation, I feel a sense of duty, fulfillment, and a deep sense of meaning and purpose.
And for those skeptics… of course, I experience setbacks and obstacles in my pursuit of those goals. As you know, the world is not a happy and glorious place all of the time. And even I experience ups and downs, two steps forward one step back in the daily work of achieving my goals. The important thing is how we choose to deal with those goal setbacks. If you really remain steadfast with your happiness decision, then you will respond to those setbacks with HAPPINESS! I know it sounds crazy, but just try it. Believe me it works.
If you think about it from the “setback’s” perspective -- let’s say the setback is in the form of another person, and well, let’s just imagine you always being jovial and courteous toward that other person -- what kind of response do you think you will get? Yet, what if you give someone anger, attitude and resentment? That’s right! It is a no brainer! Have you ever heard that saying, “What you put out you get back.”? That is the case here. Who wants to receive someone else’s anger, attitude, or resentment? Probably not you, definitely not me. Think about this from the receiver’s perspective. People do not need nor deserve the negative energy that comes with your ‘negative’, ‘low vibration’ emotions. Please think in terms of creating an ‘Upward Spiral’ every day, that is what will help you in sustaining your happiness. Let’s try to stay on the bright side of life, shall we?
So, are you ready to commit to some goals?!
Some of you still require more time, patience and persistence before you really commit to setting goals for your happiness. Some of you may need help to feel comfortable in alleviating the obstacle or setback you are experiencing right now.
If so, visit my self help store for some great tools to help you!
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Dr. Aymee Coget, a widely-known happiness expert, has more than 15 years of experience in positive psychology. Through the Happiness Makeover™, a program developed by Coget, she teaches people how to achieve happiness and handle life's challenges. She also serves as CEO and founder of the American Happiness Association, a science-backed nonprofit designed to educate individuals and organizations about how to be happier, and was nominated for CNN Hero of the Year in 2011.