Is Your Happiness Tied to Your Goals?

If you’re like many people this time of year, you’re thinking about your goals for next year.  Maybe you just think about what goals you want to accomplish. Maybe you write your goals down.  Maybe you have a formal goal setting process that you go through.

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If you’re one of those people, you might be interested in the following quote: “Happiness does not come from achieving your goals. Happiness comes from the adventure of striving toward your goals.”

As a very goal oriented person, I’m a huge proponent of goal setting. I’m constantly setting and working on goals. I have individual goals, goals for my marriage, goals for my family, goals for experiences, goals for my business, etc…

But I read a book recently called “The Happiness of Pursuit” (yes the twist to the words is intentional). While reading that book, it dawned on me that the goal isn’t really the goal. The goal isn’t the purpose. The goal is a means to an end. The goal is the necessary part of having an experience.

The adventure, the experience, the struggle, the challenge, the ups and downs, those are really what make us happy.  Sure, there’s some celebration at the end of the goal, but it’s short lived. When you look back at the whole process start to finish, you see that the real happiness was in the work of attaining the goal.

Think about your marriage for a second. What is it that truly makes you happy in your marriage? Is it the accomplishment of all of the goals that you and your spouse have / had: getting married, having a child, buying a home, traveling together, etc…? Or, is it about sharing those adventures with the person that means the most to you?

I hope you’ll set some awesome goals this upcoming year. But when you do, I hope you’ll set them with the understanding that it’s the experience and the adventure that really makes you happy. I suspect that if you do keep that in mind, you might set even bigger goals than you had planned on.

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