How you think and feel about the future and how you work towards it, can make a big difference for your happiness in the present. Having a goal or set of goals to look forward to can contribute to not only being more optimistic but also happier.
Although your personality or current circumstances (perhaps things are tough financially or you’ve had a relationship breakdown) might steer you towards seeing the future more positively or negatively, science shows that the practical action of setting a goal can contribute to your happiness now.
Having and working on goals are known to boost not only your happiness but your well-being. They’re a way of connecting the present with your future. They also help with getting more out of your time (and let’s face it we could all do with more of that), and as you progress towards them, gives you a confidence boost. They don’t have to be big; you can try setting small goals that will eventually add up to something more meaningful.
So, what makes a good goal for happiness?
To get the best bang for your buck happiness and wellness wise, studies suggest the following when it comes to goal setting;
- They should be based on your interests and/or values and freely chosen by you and not driven by external reason (e.g., wanting to get rich or look good)
- You should be able to decide how you works towards them
- They shouldn’t be about actively avoiding or stopping something (i.e., don’t eat junk food), rather about actively heading towards something (i.e., I will eat good food)
- You should be able to feel like you can make effective progress towards your goals.