Goal Setting for Success AND Happiness
We all see the advertisements and messages surrounding us - set goals to achieve success! It sounds great; being successful and reaching our goals must feel sooooo awesome (and it does, for a hot minute). We work our fingers to the bone, burn our candles at both ends, around the clock we trudge and, one glorious day, we reach that desired-and-dreamed-about goal. It feels incredible for a little while, and then what? The thing they don't tell you about reaching goals is this: there is a deep and confusing void in the achievement of a goal, when you no longer have that desired thing to look forward to. What-the-what?!?! Why isn't that in any of those self-help books???
Here's the deal, until recently, society has connected goals and happiness in the wrong way. We think we will be happy once we reach a goal. The truth is this - it is the creation of happiness on the way to a goal that brings lasting happiness after its achievement. Ever heard the phrase, "Find joy in the journey?" That person wasn't joking.
You think what you want is the achieved goal, but what you really want is the experience of life on the way to achieving that goal. Let that sink in.
Jim Rohn, one of the fathers of productivity, said, " The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get...Set a Goal to Become a Millionaire, for What It Will Make of You to Achieve It." You see, my friend, it is in our becoming we create happiness, not in our achieving.
I know some of you may not like this revelation. If happiness is created along the way to achieving your goals, not in the achieving of the goals, that means you are responsible to create your happiness, it doesn't just happen to you. Yep! That's right! Happiness doesn't just happen. Here's the really awesome news, you are unlimited in the happiness you create. You're always in the process of becoming and your happiness can grow and grow with you over time. How cool is that?!?! Stop putting off the little things that bring you joy because you're working on a goal and you "don't have time" to do them.
Success + happiness = creating joy along the way to the goal.
That's the equation I want to share with you today! When we create joy and happiness along the way, reaching the goal is just adding the whip cream and cherry to the top of our incredible sundae. It's great and satisfying, but we didn't wait to be happy until we had it. We didn't wait to enjoy life until what we wanted was ours.
Goals Versus Tasks
We confuse goals with tasks. A goal is an outcome we want to have happen and a task is something we do (often in support of that outcome). Here's what you need to create outcomes in your life that bring you both success AND happiness! Are you ready???
The outcome needs to be something you can focus on and get excited about...that's it!!!! Were you waiting for a looooong list? Sorry to disappoint, but it's really that simple.
Let's pretend you wanted to set a goal to lose 20 pounds. Doesn't that already make you want to go eat a carton of ice cream? If you focus on losing something, you're just going to attract more of what you think you need to lose! This is lack-based (a.k.a. a goal set in fear-based thinking) and I don't know anyone who gets excited about losing weight - restrictive diets, grueling exercise...ugh!
Let's shift that to you want the outcome of running the New York Marathon. It's the oldest and biggest marathon in the U.S.A. You research it and start to get excited about the experience of running through New York and seeing the Statue of Liberty, ending at Central Park with thousands of people cheering you on. That's an exciting outcome! What do you think will happen to your body as you prepare to run this marathon? You're going to naturally slim down, not because you're trying to "lose weight" but because you're excitedly working towards an outcome you can focus on with clarity and joy. Shedding the extra pounds is a happy by-product.
The key is to HAVE FUN ALONG THE WAY!
Have you ever watched lightening dance across the sky? It flashes so beautifully, yet powerfully. I created a method for you that, like lightening, will help you powerfully dance towards your goals. It's called The BOLT Method. Big Outcome, Small Tasks.
Anything we want, we want it because we think it will bring us joy and happiness, so go ahead and set a BIG outcome. Make it something you can visualize and get excited about. Part of creating happiness is the exuberance of imagining yourself achieving the outcome you want. Think of it as already done and step into the person you will need to be for the outcome to be achieved. Imagine yourself as that person. This is the process of becoming.
Write down the tasks you will do in support of your Big Outcome. You will start to feel a natural momentum to complete these tasks. If you feel stuck, look at your list and ask yourself, "Out of this list, what FEELS the best to me right now?" Do that task and you will gain momentum. You may be surprised to see you ended up completing more than you would have if you tried to slog through doing the things you hated. Not only will you get more done, but it will be higher quality! If you absolutely don't feel great about any of it, put it away for a little while and come back to it.
If you have something must do and can't find anything enjoyable about it, just do it for 17 seconds. Tell yourself you will work on it for only 17 seconds and then you will take a break. You will be pleasantly surprised that, after only 17 seconds, you will find the tasks less miserable, or less daunting, or easier to do.
The 17-Second Rule
When you focus on something for 17 seconds, you gain momentum. At 34 seconds, you get even more momentum. By the time you reach 68 seconds, you are really rolling. If you can get this momentum built up the first thing in the morning, your energy will remain higher and happier for longer each day. This is why I start every day with 68 seconds of gratitude and appreciation. Try it out! If you can't do 68 seconds, start with 34 seconds, or even 17 seconds! You can do anything for 17 seconds!
Celebrate the Little Wins
Here's the last thing - celebrate each little task along the way. Every time you get something done, give yourself a high five, ring a bell, jump in the air and scream "yippee!" or whatever tickles your fancy to celebrate you! This is part of enjoying life! This is part of creating happiness along the way.
Success AND happiness are not only possible for you, but very doable. You can do it! You've got this! Feeling good just feels so good!
Faith Joy (a.k.a. The Fear Engineer)