“Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object.” —Hermann Hesse
In business as in life, people often measure happiness by what they achieve. We set goals in our work and personal lives, and believe that by attaining them we’ll be happy.
Generally it goes something like, “I’ll be happy when I build my business, have a life partner, make my first million, lose weight, etc.”
But the thing is, it’s choosing to be happy—and enjoying the process of achieving goals—that makes our achievements fulfilling.
So in today’s post, let’s look at how cultivating happiness while working toward our goals supports us in fulfilling them with greater ease (all while making the journey far more enjoyable).
When the Focus is the Goal
But first, let’s take a quick look at the alternative.
When I think back to times when I thought reaching goals would bring me happiness, whatever happiness I garnered was usually pretty short-lived. Even after hitting my goal, I either immediately focused on the next thing, or found myself wondering why I didn’t feel more ecstatic about my achievement.
I’d say to myself, “Geez, is that it?”
This is exactly why in spiritual psychology we like to say that “happiness is an inside job.” Honestly, it’s only in the last few years that I’ve explored what that really means. Turns out there are simple ways of cultivating happiness to support well-being. So now, when I achieve my goals, it’s an extension of what I experience within, not something attained from outside of me.
Enjoy the Process
Whatever your goal, there’s always a process involved in achieving it. When you’re present and mindful of the journey, not just the destination, you’re far more likely to appreciate both your efforts and their results.
Being present, and knowing that this is exactly what will lead you to your next steps, opens possibilities that might not otherwise show up. In fact, when you’re happily focused on the present, while keeping your goal in your heart and mind, unexpected people and situations show up to support you in ways that you couldn’t have imagined. The Universe responds because you’re open, present, and engaged with what you’re doing.
Learn as You Go
Every part of your experience in achieving your goal is there for you to learn from. How you choose to view it is up to you. That’s what makes life so amazing.
When you choose happiness as a way of being, you become aware of the smallest things that bring you joy and make you happy. Even when plans go awry, they become a part of the experience of creating what you want. It’s easier to bounce back from unexpected bumps when feelings of well-being are attached to who we are rather than what we achieve.
This makes it easier to weather all that comes our way—both the storms and the sunshine. So even when life throws us a curve ball, we can be assured that, just like the weather, “this too shall pass.”
Stay in Tune with Your Why
As you work towards you goal, be clear on your “Why.” Whatever your goal is, keep your “Why” in the forefront. Be deeply committed to what’s important to you, and the choices you make will align with your goal.
Take the time to listen within. Happily achieving your goals means that you’re flexible, open, and listening to your heart. Remember, you have everything you need within you to meet your goal. Tune inward when you feel challenged or need guidance for your next steps. The answers are there.
Give thanks everyday for what comes your way. Know that it is all part of your journey.
Be thankful for all the pieces that fall into place as you move toward achieving your goal. Be thankful for all you learn when things don’t go as planned. And be thankful that you can accept and deal with whatever comes up.
Just the simple act of being grateful everyday will increase your happiness. After all, it’s hard not to be happy when you’re grateful.
If there was an express route to happiness, the road would be paved with gratitude.
Practice acts of kindness whenever you can. Being kind is one of the easiest ways to cultivate happiness. It’s a way to connect with others and to share who you are. It takes us outside of ourselves and supports being present, loving, and compassionate—all qualities that foster happiness.
Being kind also opens doors and opportunities that might not come up otherwise. When we’re kind, we share ourselves with others without wanting anything in return. Kindness provides a powerful connection to happiness.
When you connect to the happiness within, achieving your goals becomes an expression of how you choose to be while working towards them. And the truth is, when we feel happy in who we are, the goals we set for ourselves manifest with far greater ease.
These practices will open your heart to happily achieving your goals—which sure beats waiting to achieve your goals to feel happy.
Please share your own tips for happily achieving goals in the comments.