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Goals For Happiness and Fulfillment  

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Goals come in various incarnations. Often used in sporting terminology, like when a soccer player puts the ball in the mesh or a hockey participant shoots the puck in the net, a goal is an objective met. Andres Cantor, an Argentine American and sportscaster, provides Spanish and English narrations of soccer matches and is known for shouting an elongated period, “Goal,” signals a player has scored-therefore reaching the player’s intended objective successfully. 

Enough about sports. Let’s refine the meaning of the word goal in terms of mental health. A goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort. In essence, a person sets out with an aim or intended result. In mental health, people generally use terminology like ‘goal-directed.’ Goal-directed is when a person behaves in a manner that helps them reach their goal. 

Generally, goal-directed behavior is positive, concrete steps to achieve a goal. In doing so, people are in the driver’s seat of their lives. Having dreams is critical for cultivating a sense of purpose. Goals also provide evidence of steps toward a more positive direction in life. Having a plan helps! Let’s consider how a program helps you stay goal-directed or focused. 

IDEAS FOR GOALS:

  • Practice self-love and self-compassion 
  • Be kind to your body
  • Take time for mindfulness
  • Be creative with managing stress
  • Utilize your support network
  • Set boundaries 
  • Respect your feelings 
  • Believe in yourself

A significant problem in setting goals is that many see them as New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions are hopes and wishes. There is something inherently flawed in putting stock in hopes and desires. Hopes and wishes are tremendous but better suited for song titles. Goal setting is much more complex and valuable. 

Meeting the realities of daily life head-on is a big part of reaching a goal. George T. Doran initially conceived one such concept in his 1981 paper. Since then, his formula has been used and adapted in many forms. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Corporations and individuals still use George’s SMART idea for goal setting. SMART even helped me for many years. Overall, it works well.

SMART

  • SPECIFIC: direct, detailed, and meaningful.
  • MEASURABLE: quantifiable to track progress.
  • ATTAINABLE: Realistically, have the tools and resources.
  • RELEVANT: align with your mission and values.
  • TIME-BASED: have a deadline.

When is it time for a goal? When you feel stressed and overwhelmed, it might be time to refocus. Stress can signal the need for change. A plan to help minimize, reduce, and manage stress is a great start. Be aware of the objectives leading to your happiness. 

FOUR STEPS TO SET GOALS: 

  • SETTING THE RIGHT GOAL
  • TAKING SMALL, CONCRETE STEPS
  • REWARDING YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY
  • CONSIDER SLIP-UPS TO BE PART OF THE PROCESS 

Plans can be somewhat challenging but are often rewarding and ultimately lead to better life experiences. Reaching all your goals might take longer than you expect. It can be the difference between staying with our goals and achieving your goals. Pace yourself!

Reaching your goals takes energy, and it takes to focus on pacing to maintain progress. 

Don’t give up! Just do your best and give yourself a big pat on the back for the effort!

See you in the Newsletters and News Blogs.

About the Author

Howard Diamond CPS (Certified Peer Specialist)

Howard Diamond, CPS (Certified Peer Specialist) is a hardworking Editorial Board Member and eager contributor to Mental Health Affairs. He has worked in various settings all over Long Island and New York State where he resides. His articles are layered with incredible profound insights into his health and state of being, which resonate with his audience do deeply struggling with their mental health and connection to the bigger world. Howard has a dedicated following of readers and he also writes for other websites on his lived experience and ongoing thoughts on mental health. We are happy to have him working with the site and being so gracious with his time, energy, and dedication to our site.
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