My coaching moment today is about how committing to your goals helps you achieve happiness, and is based on the work of Sonja Lyubomirsky.
In her book, The How of Happiness, she writes, “people who strive for something personally significant, whether it’s learning a new craft, changing careers, or raising moral children, are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations. Find a happy person, and you will find a project”. I think she’s right! We all know people who have plenty of goals, but lack the motivation to pursue them. What really makes us happy is what we find the drive to chase them.
So what does committed goal pursuit do for us? Well, let’s consider the opposite, or a moment. When you don’t have that significant goal, it’s hard to feel connected to something. Having a goal gives us something to work for.
It also increases self-esteem. Goals make us feel confident, and every time we accomplish a step along the way, we get another emotional boost. These lifts not only reinforce our happiness, they help us stay motivated.
Third, having goals to pursue give us structure and meaning, and can also give us a natural way to connect with others. Related to this is yet another benefit of being committed – it helps us schedule our time and ourselves. And should something derail us from one goal, we’re better able to cope with problems and replace that goal with another.
Finally, as human beings we have a need to belong and to engage with people, even if only on a goal-related level. Goals can be happiness inducing just by virtue of connecting us with others. And this contributes to our continued vitality. In the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, “An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding”