How To Set Goals That Will Increase Your Happiness

How To Set Goals That Will Increase Your Happiness

via Forbes by Danielle Seurkamp

Do you ever find yourself daydreaming, imagining how happy you will be when you get that house on the beach, when you write that last college tuition check, or when you tell your boss you’ve had it and are finally retiring? On that day, you think, I will be happy. That place, that thing, that experience, that will be the thing that brings this all into harmony. The birds will be singing, the sun will be shining, and all my woes will be a thing of the past!

We’re set up to think this way, aren’t we? Since the first time someone asked what you want to be when you grow up, we’ve been encouraged to think about the future as a time when things are going to start happening for us. It becomes something we work toward, and we start thinking about life as a pursuit. I’ll go to college, I’ll get married, I’ll get a good job and a nice house – pursue, pursue, pursue – and on the other side of this rainbow will be my pot of gold. I will set these goals, I will accomplish them and then I’ll be happy.

Well, my fellow goal setters, I’ve got some bad news; accomplishing goals doesn’t actually make us happy, at least not in the long run. For all the blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice put into achieving our goals, the results often don’t pay off the way we’d hoped.

Imagine our happiness like our blood sugar level. Achieving a goal is akin to eating something sweet; it causes our levels to spike bringing with it a temporary rush of positive emotion but eventually – and far more quickly than we think – our systems digest it and we return to normal. There’s a name for this; it’s called hedonic adaptation.

Your particular happiness norm, or happiness set point, is unique to you. It’s determined by a combination of genetics, behavior, and experiences. Positive and negative experiences may move that level higher or lower at any given time, but we ultimately return to equilibrium.

The original research on hedonic adaptation showed that our happiness set point was static, meaning there was little we could do to change our level of happiness through life. More recent research has challenged that idea. While it’s still believed that 50% of our happiness set point is determined by genetics, the other half can be influenced by significant life events and changes to our behavior and attitude.

So, how do we use goals in a healthy way to ultimately increase our happiness set point?

… keep reading the full & original article HERE