Feeling good about our future is important for our happiness. Action for Happiness claim:
‘It helps to know what you’re looking forward to’
Today’s blog is all about helping you gain a sense of direction in life. We all need a sense of direction and our dreams and goals can help us with this. Let’s start with the bigger picture and consider what your dreams are in life?
Seeking meaning in life instead of pleasure will make you happier.
What are your dreams? For some people, this is clear and easy for them to name, but not everyone is blessed with having a clear definite dream and in today’s world we can feel more and more pressure to have dreams. This pressure can influence us to begin comparing ourselves to others who have dreams – this comparison could inspire you but it can sometimes make you feel guilty and create further pressure to try and name your dreams – this is not helpful for your happiness.
Dreams can be big and small and it is personal to you. Start with what you are good at and align this with what you are passionate about. If you are struggling to find out what your passion is then you could start to think about what activities/things you do in your life that really bring you energy and purpose. This could be anything from sport, being around people or bringing up your family.
Once you know what your passion is you can begin to think creatively about how you can incorporate this into your everyday life.
You don’t need to have your dream job to fulfill this area – if you are happy at work but don’t think it ignites your passion, you can begin activities outside of work that will give you that sense of purpose. If your job is giving you a sense of purpose and is part of your passion but you don’t feel as happy as you could be, then you may need to consider your work-life balance and do more things outside of work that will contribute to your sense of direction and purpose.
Dare to create dreams that scare you, but that motivate you to take action.
Goals are the stepping-stones that will help you move from where you are now to where you want to be. Goals can be small to big and they can be anything from what you want to achieve today to where you want to be in 5 years time and so on. To make your dreams a reality you need to translate them into tangible goals.
Setting goals will give you long-term vision and short-term motivation. High achievers such as successful business people and top athletes all have goals.
Tip – keep your goals SMART:
S – Specific (or Significant)
M – Measurable (or Meaningful)
A – Achievable (or Action-Oriented)
R – Realistic (or relevant)
T – Time-bound (or Trackable)
Before you consider your goals you may want to think about what your values are and align them with what you do.
Action for happiness claim that,
‘Goals are the way we can turn our values and dreams into reality. Happiness doesn’t just happen – it comes from thinking, planning and pursuing things that are important to us. Scientific research shows that setting and working towards goals can contribute to happiness in various ways’.
Remember: goals are most successful when they’re something you really want to achieve and when you set them for yourself- rather than being something someone else wants you to do.
9 Tips to get you started with your goals
To get you started on your goal setting we have put together some useful ideas and tools you could try:
1.Create a dream/vision board – get out lots of old magazines and spend some quality (undisturbed) time thinking about all the things you want to do/have in your life. Use the images from the magazines to create a vision board of these ideas.
2.Work on your values – the things that are important to us, the characteristics and behaviours that motivate us and guide our decisions.
3. Volunteer with a local charity that aligns with your values.
4. You could seek professional support from a life/business coach to help you with your planning.
5. Involve family and friends with your planning and find common ground.
6. Focus on the things you have control over.
7. Take action – taking one small action will induce motivation which will drive further action.
8. Find an accountability buddy – ask a friend to hold you accountable for your actions.
9. Don’t let knock backs or obstacles stop you from pursuing your goals, it is all part of the journey and you will learn from them. Be sure to celebrate your achievements too!