Image by: Relax Now
By Robert Spencer
Being happy is generally everyone’s goal in life. Some people want something more: to leave a legacy, be rich, be successful, etc. When it boils down to it though, these are the things which make us blissful so achieving those goals in life still amounts to being happy and feeling fulfilled in your life.
However, “becoming happy with your life” is really the hard part, isn’t it? How can you achieve true happiness if the term “happiness” means something different to everyone? The latest research shows that gratitude and ambition makes you happier. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people who set goals for themselves tend to be more satisfied than those with low ambitions.
In addition to that, expressing gratitude leaves us with a feeling of joy and happiness. While we all, kind of, knew this, it was expressed officially in studies which were done a couple of years ago.
Let’s delve further into gratitude and ambition in order to gain true, internal happiness
Showing gratitude is something that was ingrained in most of us when we were children. Say “thank you”. Write thank you cards and letters. It all seems like small potatoes, right? Well, while we may show our gratitude for our everyday encounters and gifts, we don’t often express thanks to those who have left long-lasting impressions on us.
Consider writing a few letters to those who have really made an impact on your life, even if you haven’t talked to them in years. After you’ve written the letters, don’t send them. Give those people a call instead. Read them the letter. Better yet, schedule a time where you both can meet for coffee and tell that person face-to-face, what he has done for you.
These types of encounters will strengthen relationships (or fix broken ones) and that is what will make you happiest. Strong meaningful relationships is one of the keys to living a happy and fulfilled life.
#2) Professional Goals
Professional goals are usually one of the most difficult to attain because sometimes it requires that you “compete” with others in order to attain the position that you are striving for. For some of you, your goal may be related to how much money you make. Some may find that it is the position that they are trying to achieve. While we may want different goals, the process remains fairly similar.
First, find out what you would like to maintain, improve, and change. Perhaps you would like to improve on your communication skills at work, maintain your current low stress level, and change your position at work.
Whatever those goals would be, try to break them down into a smaller goal. For “improve your communication skills”, look at what part of your communication skills you need to improve. Do you need to answer e-mails faster? Do you need to learn how to send more effective e-mails?
The last step is to check in on these goals once a week. This is to ensure that you’re continuing to move forward in your goals. You can also feel free to adjust them accordingly. If you achieve one, make a new goal.
#3) Healthy Goals
Do the “maintain, improve, and change” method in order to make goals that have to do with your health and fitness. However, for this specific part of your life, make sure that you are truly making goals that have to do with your health and fitness level and not just on an aesthetic level. Instead of “look like [insert a celebrity here] in [a famous movie that he was in]” make goals that are specific and measurable.
Lose a certain number of pounds and keep it off.
Get a clean bill of health from the doctor.
Exercise five days a week for an hour each day.
#4) Personal Improvement Goals
Being healthier and being more successful at work are both goals which can fall under “personal improvement”. However, when I say “personal improvement” I mean, improving yourself outside of work and I don’t just mean physically but mentally too.
Look at the “maintain, improve, and change” method for your personal life and make goals that center around your “bad habits” and intellect. You’ve already covered your physical health so you don’t need to focus on those things. This section should be about your habits, intellect, and how you better yourself as a person. You can also focus on your values and passions.
#5) Life Goals
Take an afternoon off of work (better yet, take the whole weekend off of work) and get away. Go somewhere quiet where you can reflect on yourself. Turn your phone off. Don’t answer any e-mails. If you can rent a cabin out in the woods, do that. If you can rent a hotel room for a couple nights in a new city, do that.
Take this time to reflect on the achievements that you’ve made in your life and look at what you would like for the rest of your life. What kinds of goals would you want for your life? Do you want to live a life of adventure? Or perhaps your adventure-seeking days are over. Would you rather settle down with a family?