Traditional achievements, such as getting a better job or going on a special vacation, lend themselves to techniques that goal-setting books and gurus teach.
But what about states of being–your desire to live a happy life, as an example? They aren’t really goals, are they–at least that’s what the books and gurus say, right?
First of all, striving for a state of being is a goal, even though it seems to defy all the parameters of goal setting.
Secondly, the way you’ll go about achieving your chosen state of being is going to look totally different than the way someone else might strive for it. Don’t be surprised and don’t second-guess yourself when this happens!
To illustrate how to go about achieving a state of being, let’s use ‘being happy” as the goal.
Give yourself plenty of time to answer the following questions–it’s okay to take several sessions spread over several days in order to get to your True Answers:
What YOU mean by “be happy”?
To you, does “happy” mean that you’re laughing and frequently doing a happy dance or does “happy” mean that you have a sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and contentment?
Why do you want to be happy?
Is it because you’re tired of, and fed up with, being glum? Is it because you want to do your part in counteract and fighting negativity in the world and living a happy life is the best way you know how to do this? Is it that you’ve noticed people who are happy seem to have an easier time of living life?
When are you happy?
Do you feel happy during quiet moments or when you’re with other people? Are you happiest when you’re challenging yourself intellectually, or physically pushing yourself to your limits, or debating the spiritual and philosophical questions that have interested humans for millennia? Are you happy with an active, fast-paced lifestyle or are you happier with a slower pace–one that gives you plenty of time to savor each moment?
Take the time to answer these questions. Let them inspire other questions–or other shadings of these same questions–so that you can pinpoint your unique definition and personal meaning of “being happy”.
As you answer these questions, jot down the memories you have of the times when you were happy.
Remember: don’t be surprised or feel awkward that your definition is nothing like anyone else’s. It’s supposed to be that way!! You won’t be happy following someone else’s idea of happiness. You want your happiness to be tailor-made to YOU!
On Monday we’ll take the next step in goal setting for intangible goals. In the meantime, if you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to share them in the comments below. Thanks!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,