Why people with goals are happier

by
Raphael Reiter
July 16, 2023

"... working toward a meaningful life goal is one of the most important strategies for becoming lastingly happier."


This quote is by Sonja Lyubomirsky from her fantastic book The How to Happiness. It is one of the books I recommend most when it comes to studying happiness as a science.


Here is another passage from the book that explains why people with goals are generally happier.


"In 1932, weighed down by the sorrows and agonies of his self-absorbed and aimless clients, an Australian psychiatrist named W. Béran Wolfe summed up his philosophy like this: 'If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert.' He was right. 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. "


There is great value in having a calling and a vocation instead of just a job or career.


As Freud put it, the equation to happiness equals work + love. Studies have shown that loving your work, and having projects and goals, will make you significantly happier.


It goes in the same line as the Japanese Ikigai. The loose translation of Ikigai is: The reason we wake up every morning. I love this.


So let's take out our journals and write :


What's your project? If you don't have one yet, write the first thing that comes into your mind. Of course, it's not set in stone; you can always change it. But for now, choose a project, and make a plan with the first steps.

Once this is done, take the first step right now.

If it's buying a domain name for a website, do it now. If it's ordering some materials to create those summer dresses you wanted to sow, do that now. Just take one action; it can be a massive one or a micro one.


Once you are done, note how you feel. Happy?

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