Setting goals and trying to reach them is an important part of our lives. As soon as we reach a goal, we set another- but have you ever thought about how much they can affect our happiness?
In this article, Bruce Headey explains what role our goals play in our lives, and how they can lead us to a happier self!
Some goals are competitive, like pursuing a career and wanting to be successful at a job.
Other goals are non-competitive, like spending time with family, helping others, and doing things for our community.
They used a large sample of over 30,000 people and asked them to fill out a survey.
They wanted to find out which one of these life goals helps us be more satisfied with our life.
They found that, with everything else being equal, giving high priority to the non-competitive life goals enhances life satisfaction.
On the other hand, putting competitive goals first and only caring about them lowers life satisfaction.
Other things like marriage, education, and income affect happiness too, but they’re usually a consequence of our goals.
Giving importance to success goals has a small effect on happiness, but that small amount is very valuable.
These results are broadly the same for men and women.
It’s clear that goals related to family, society, and friendship are both positive for men and women.
The longer you pursue goals related to friendship, helping others, and social activism, the happier you become, while the opposite is true for only going after success.
People are generally happier when they have goals related to family and society, rather than to the material standard of living and work.
Goals are very important in each of our lives and we have the power to set goals that bring us closer to happiness.
What we do for our family, relationships and community seems to bring a lot more joy and happiness than material goods. Having life goals that help us play a significant role in these domains will make us happier in life, but maintaining a balance between our non-competitive and competitive goals is key!