Goal Setting: The Goal You’re Forgetting

Joe Eames
Joe Eames
Feb 25 · 3 min read

It’s still goal-setting time. It’s a time when many of us set goals for the year. Yoga classes and gyms will become crowded, health food stores will be busy, and a whole lot of bread & rolls will be passed over in favor of bacon and steak.

Most goals people set are focused on external things: thinner, stronger, smarter, wealthier, etc. All the things we want in our life. All the things we’re missing to bring us happiness. I’d be happy if I made more money. I’d be happy if I were thinner. I’d be happy if I were in a fulfilling relationship. I’d be happier if I got that promotion. I’d be happier if I finally understood monads.

Now, none of these things are bad. In fact, all of them truly are good things. More earning means more security and opportunity for us and our families, and more opportunity to bless the lives of others. More health means a longer life. More education means more impact we can make on the world.

But as we view these goals (health, money, relationships, creation, etc) in relation to our happiness, we are seeing only the symptoms and not the disease. Achieving these things will not bring us happiness. None of the groups of people who have these things have statistically lower depression or suicide rates. Often times they’re even higher.

It’s the internal things that bring happiness and peace. Not external achievements.

So as you consider what goals to set this year, add in a goal or two to increase your happiness.

What things will increase your happiness? Well, there are plenty of books on that topic, but let’s at least cover a few things that never fail to increase happiness.

  1. Service. No better way to gain perspective than to serve others who are in need.
  2. Quiet Time. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, etc. All these things are known to improve happiness and decrease depression.
  3. Exercise. I know that’s also listed above, but here I’m not talking about the exercise that gets us huge biceps or a flat tummy. For your emotional health, regular, short, light cardio exercise has proven to be one of the best things you can do. Even a short 10- to 20-minute semi-brisk walk.
  4. Removing Addictive Substances and Behaviors. This is a big subject with not enough time to cover here, but basically, if there’s something you’ve been thinking that you maybe don’t want in your life but you’re having a hard time removing it, then it’s probably going to fall in this category.

So when doing your goal setting, don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees. Be sure to set a goal to be happier.

What goal(s) are you going to set to increase your happiness this year?

As always, happy coding!

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Joe Eames

Written by

Joe Eames

Mormon, Christian, Father, CEO of Thinkster.io, Organizer of @ngconf, @frameworksummit, React Conf. Front end developer, and Software Craftsmanship Evangelist.

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