Why Study This Mantra...You will learn how goals can truly make you happier. You'll learn the RIGHT and WRONG way to set goals that make you happy.
– Albert Einstein
A happy life is one that’s rich in life satisfaction. In other words, it’s a life that's “successful” by your own definition. And a successful life is one where you’re making progress toward your most important goals. In other words, successful goal striving makes you happier.
Just having goals, even if you don't reach them, provides you with a sense of direction and meaning. Focusing on the process over the outcome is key. Achieving goals can feel really good, but the rate of progress toward your goals, not their attainment, is better for enduring happiness. We can't emphasize that enough.
This month, you’ll learn how to properly determine the right goals to make you happy, as well as the right way to turn goals into action, change your behavior, and start living a happier life.
Before you begin...
Before you start these practices and challenges, take a moment to rate yourself on this mantra. Give yourself a score from 1-10 (10 being the highest).
Do this again at the end of a month of practices and challenges. How much have you grown?
As I put on this mantra this morning, I will express my conviction to my goals. Not to ACHIEVING them, but to PURSUE them and make progress toward them. I will ask myself, "What am I doing today to make progress toward my goals?"
If I've made a weekly strategy, I may look at that for guidance on what my progress should be today.
Determine Your Goals
This month, determine your goal(s). You may use your journal to capture your goals and build your action plan for pursuing them.
Your journal prompts will provide some tips on how to set great goals. Then once you have your goals in place, you will build out your action plan, which includes identifying milestones, a 60-day plan, a 1-month plan, weekly planning, and finally, a daily plan.
Now that your plan is in place, you’re ready for the next step – pursuing your goals! This is of course the hardest part, so you’ll be provided with guidance around how to create accountability, how to win against your triggers, how to create rewards for yourself and more through the SMS program throughout this month, so make sure you’re subscribed!
All of this may seem like a lot at first, and it is! The level of detail outlined here is a recipe for successful goal pursuit, but it bears calibration depending on the individual. It is best to take yourself through this exercise faithfully once. You then have the experience to understand what degree of detail and intensity works best for you.
Tips for Goal Setting
- First and foremost, your goal needs a "Why." Make sure your goal is BIG enough to motivate you! If you think you have your goal in mind but you DON'T have your "Why," try the 5 Why's exercise. "Why do I want to do this? And why is that? And why is that?" And so on until you feel you've reached the bottom.
- The goals you set should challenge you to learn and grow. What new information or skills will you acquire in the pursuit of your goals?
- That being said, don't set goals that are unrealistic. Your goals should stretch you, but you should have a decent chance at achieving them. Along those same lines, don't set too many. We recommend you start with just ONE goal.
- Aim for goals that satisfy your basic psychological needs, like sense of belonging. What needs are most important to you?
- Goals that converge with underlying motives are also good, like affiliation. What underlying motives sit deep in your core?
- Don't focus on avoidance goals (Stop snacking on sugary treats). Approach/gain goals are far better (Eat more carrots).
- Make sure your goals are concrete, measurable, and timebound. Instead of "lose weight," try "lose 20 pounds by December."
- For this first set of goals, give yourself 1 year to complete them.
- Finally, you must be WILLING TO COMMIT to taking the steps toward your goal. If you're not, then it might not be the right goal.
So you've come up with 12-month goals that are actionable and concrete, challenging yet achievable, satisfy your psychological needs, are aligned with your "Why," and that you're motivated to pursue. The next step is to build an action plan for pursuing them. Your goal(s) should be something you aim to achieve in 1 year. Let's now chunk that up into smaller parts.
First, identify 10-12 milestones. These don't necessarily align with the 12 months on the calendar. Prioritize these! You need to make sure you're working on them in the right order.
Next, build your 60-day plan. Now in order to achieve all of your milestones in the next 12 months, what do you feel would be necessary in the next 60 days? Pull from the top of your milestones.
Now do the same thing for 1 month. Pick off items from your 60-day plan you feel you would need to do in the next 30 days. Ideally, you would have about 4 prioritized items in your 1-month plan, the first gets done in week 1, the second gets done in week 2, etc.
This is where the planning actually starts to turn into ACTION. Hold a weekly strategy session with yourself. Come up with your weekly plan. If you need to write this down, you should do it somewhere you'll see it each day.
You can even build a daily plan! As you start each day, look at your weekly plan and commit yourself to the top items on that list for today.
You'll be getting more guidance around how to create accountability, how to win against your triggers, how to create rewards for yourself and more, in links in the SMS program throughout this month, so make sure you're subscribed!
For a definitive look at this month's mantras and practices, including what philosophers, theologians, psychologists, and scientists throughout history have thought, taught, and advocated, click below.