Direction is key #6 to happier living

direction_full_200We all need goals to motivate us and these need to be challenging enough to excite us, but also achievable. Maybe you know the SMART acronym to define goals: Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Relevant (or Realstic), Time-bounded. SMART goals give our lives direction and bring a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when we achieve them. By the way, happiness seems to be one of the important goals in life. It’s OK to dream, or to align goals with values, but to turn dreams into reality, it takes action. Goals give direction to actions, and focus, since you cannot and need not do everything. Happiness, the dream come true doesn’t just happen instantly. You’ll get dirty hands from thinking, planning and hard labor. Scientific research shows that setting and working towards goals can contribute to happiness in various ways, including:

  • Being a source of interest, engagement or pleasure
  • Giving us a sense of meaning and purpose
  • Bringing a sense of accomplishment when we achieve what we set out to (or milestones along the way) – this also builds our confidence and belief in what we can do in the future

Actively working towards them appears to be as important for our well-being as achieving the end results we are aiming for. Rather than broadcasting your goals to the world, Derek Sivers recommends keeping them for yourself as a personal guidance, towards your (and not mine) ‘true north’, which may be a personal mission statement, values you honor most.

More keys to happier living

In the coming weeks I’ll share more keys for happier living, as part of the Action for Happiness.