Happiness ... And Goal Setting

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Are you as happy as you can possibly be?

Are you living your own personal Definition of Happiness?

If the answer to these questions is not “YES”, then you’re in the right place, because part of the reason most people are not as happy as possible is because of the fact that most people don’t really know their own personal Definition of Happiness.

Simply put, your definition of happiness is specifically and completely "what would make you happiest in your life".

It’s not always easy to know what would make you really happy – and it’s not always what you might think on the surface.  I talk about this in many places here at BeHappy101.com, and it’s a big first step in my book, BeHappy! – as well as in the 6-month course called The Happiness Academy.

So, if you haven’t yet created your true Definition of Happiness, make sure to take the time to do it.  It’s the basis for everything else, and is really the only way to be truly happy.

Once you have that personal Definition of Happiness, you have to have a plan to implement that Definition into your life.  If, for example, one component of your Definition of Happiness is to be wealthy and achieve financial freedom, then you have to have a plan to achieve that wealth.  It usually doesn’t just happen – for most people anyway.

Within that plan, to get what you need to be as happy as possible, it typically means you have to set some goals – and then have a more detailed plan to achieve those goals.  That’s what we’re going to discuss here in this first part of several goal setting modules  – specifically, how to set goals (here in Part 1), and then how to achieve those goals (in Part 2).

Why Set Goals?

I’m going to use an analogy here that we’ll go back to throughout this goal-setting process.  Most of the components of the analogy will relate to the various aspects of happiness, which I’ll point out in the boxes below along the way.  Let’s get started…

Let’s say you love to travel

For the past 5 years you have been working really, really hard and haven’t had any chance to take time off, much less travel anywhere.  So, you’re not happy about it.  You’re stressed and somewhat frustrated. 

So, you decide you must take some time off and take a trip somewhere or it’s just going to get worse and worse.   Your work and your relationships are suffering because of it.

Love to travel: First, there is a reason you love to travel. Bottom line, it helps make you happier for some reason. It might even be part of your Definition of Happiness – if travel is a necessity for you to be happy in life (and without traveling, you wouldn’t be as happy as you could be in your life).
Stressed and somewhat frsutrated: Anytime we are not living consistent with what would truly make us happy in life (our Definition of Happiness) we feel various negative emotions – like stress and frustration – which make us less and less happy.
Decide you must: Hoping or wishing you could take time off will not make it happen. Only by deciding you MUST do something will allow for change to occur. That’s where GOALS come in. Hoping or wishing cannot consistently lead to achievement. Goals will.

This is why we must set goals.  Nothing will happen toward what you want in life unless you have goals.  Dreams and wishes will generally not materialize (unless you’re just lucky) and so they can lead to frustration and some degree of unhappiness if not acted upon with clear goals and a specific plan.

Having a Plan

So, you’ve made the decision (set a goal) to go on a 2-month cross-country trip.  As stated above, while it’s a great start, it will likely not happen unless you have a detailed plan – and then a system (and the commitment) to implement that plan.

In your plan, for example, you have to schedule the time off – especially if you work (at a job) for someone, since they typically don’t just come to you and tell you to take 2 months off to travel.

Now, you don’t want to just drive around aimlessly on this trip; you want to see several specific things along the way.  You have two months to do it, and you need to get back to your home at the end of the second month. 

So, what do you do?  Do you get in the car and start driving?

Hopefully not - since, first, you have to make sure you have at least some of your stops planned out (a map), a financial plan, and some means to pay for things along the way (money or a credit card). 


A map: A map is the “written down” plan for a trip. Without it, you would not get very close to the result you want (your destinations). The difference between a “dream” and a “goal” is that a goal is written down, whereas a dream is just in your mind.

Too many of us treat goal setting like taking a trip without a map and a plan. We dream about where we want to go, but we don’t have a way to get there.  But we need to do more than simply scribble down some ideas on a piece of paper. Our goals need to be complete and focused, much like a road map, and that is the purpose behind the rest of this article.

If you follow the 6 steps outlined below you will be well on your way to building the road maps to your goals.

Your plan: Planning is important for almost everything in life – including happiness and goal setting. Click here to get a free copy of my “Happiness Planner”.

1.  Write down your goals, make them specific, and review them regularly.

You must write your goals down.  Don't just think about what you want.  Writing down your goals starts the process of creating the roadmap to your success.  Just the act of writing them down will set the process in motion.

Then, when you write them out, make sure they are very specific.  Don't write, “A new home" as one of your goals, but write “A 5,000 square foot ocean-front house with 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and a pool".

We must give our subconscious mind a detailed set of instructions to work on. The more information you provide your subconscious mind, the clearer the final result.

Close your eyes and visualize your goals. Walk around the house you want mentioned in the example above. Stand on the porch off the master bedroom and watch the sunset over the ocean.  Walk down the beach in your mind and look back on your beautiful house.  The clearer you visualize it, the better your subconscious mind will help you achieve it.

Finally, it is also extremely important to review your goals frequently.  Reviewing your goals daily is a crucial part of your success and must become part of your routine. Each morning when you wake up read your list of goals that are written in the positive. The more focused you are on your goals the more likely you are to accomplish them.

2.  Make sure the goals you are setting are consistent with your Definition of Happiness

Don't create goals just because you think they are what you want.

When setting goals, it is critical to remember that your goals must be consistent with your Definition of Happiness - which if done properly, will be consistent with your identity, your values, and your passions in life.

3. Make the plan for implementing your goals "in sync" with your other goals.

You can’t create goals to have a million-dollar house, a yacht, and two vacation homes if your income goal is only $100,000 per year and your net worth goal is $500,000.   They are not in sync and will sabotage all of the hard work you put into your goals, because they can not all be achieved.

4. Separate your goals into categories based on the most important areas of life (as defined by you). 

Examples are:

  • Family and Home
  • Financial and Career
  • Spiritual and Ethical
  • Physical and Health
  • Social and Cultural
  • Mental and Educational

Setting goals in each area of life will lead to a more balanced life as you begin to understand your fundamental desires for your life and your basics of everyday living.

5. Set 1-year, 5-year, 10-year and 20-year goals.

In each of the categories above, don't just set annual goals (or worse yet, "New Years Resolutions").  This will not get you to your happiest and most successful life. 

You must look ahead to the future.  This is where your Definition of Happiness (mentioned above) comes in.  You need to know what you want for your life and achieve goals for the next couple of decades.  They can be revised as circumstances change and as your Definition of Happiness changes (as it can).

6. Set your goals "high enough".

There are several famous quotes related to this concept:  Don Shula (the successful Hall of Fame football coach) said, "strive for perfection and settle for excellence".  Also, there's this one: "Aim higher in case you fall short" (Suzanne Collins). Then there's, "The greater danger for most of us is not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark" (Michelangelo Buonarroti).

You probably get the point - which is essentially that goals should be set high, not low.  First, setting goals too low is not as motivating, and so are even less likely to be achieved than higher goals.  Then, it would be nice if everybody always achieved all their goals.  That's not reality, though.  Everyone falls short sometimes.  So, if you are going to fall short, fall short of a very high goal and you'll probably end up even better off than by fully achieving a much lower goal. 

Do these things as a first step to goal setting.  Take the time over the next several weeks to go through the process: 

  • First, make sure you know your personal Definition of HappinessClick here to learn more about this and then click here to read more about it as related to goal setting.
  • Create and write down specific, "high" goals within each life category for the next 20 years as described above and click here for more information. 
  • Then, create an initial plan to achieve those goals.  This will be the subject of the next part of this series

This is important to living your happiest possible life, so commit to the process of goal-setting and do it right.

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Goals on Track Software

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BeHappy! my friends


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