Well that’s so simple I will tell you. Your goal is to be HAPPY.
All other goals spring from that. ..relationships, career achievements, charity work, life accomplishments…all these stem from a desire to be happy. Some may say that the goal of happiness is implicit and obvious, and that we need more specific goals to achieve. I disagree…I think many of us get so caught up in our goals – that next promotion, winning that sport tournament, saving money for retirement (if you were crazy enough to work your whole life, you deserve a vacation at this point), etc. that we often lose sight of how the only reason we strive to achieve these goals is to increase our personal happiness. If we could only step back and acknowledge that, we could more accurately align our goals with what makes us truly happy.
Our desires change over time, and therefore so should our goals. If you aren’t happy with what you are doing, don’t do it. If you feel as if you are working towards a goal you no longer enjoy, stop. This will ensure you avoid that hollow feeling of accomplishment that follows so many mis-established goals. You will always seek happiness, but having the courage to make the changes required to pursue is where the difficulty lies.
Everyone wants to be happy. But happiness comes from different places for different people. I consider these second level goals – the ideals you value that act as your roadmap to happiness. Things like success, love, prestige, challenging yourself – these are all paths to happiness. These in turn are attainable through third level goals – the physical action by which you will attain your second level goals. For me personally, these goals include (among others): writing, travel, entrepreneurship, and being able to support my future family with an acceptable lifestyle. Some of these goals may involve money, but never directly and thus emphasis should never fall on money itself.
Many people select their goals based on what they have been told will make them happy – earning lots of money, having a prestigious job, owning a house with a two car garage in the suburbs. Even charity work can be undertaken the wrong way, when you expect rewards and feelings that have nothing to do with your satisfaction, the realization of your gratitude for all that you were fortunate enough to have been given in your life. But all of these things are a means to an end, the end being happiness and a life well lived. But if that was your aim from the get-go, you might realize that you don’t need a million dollars or a fancy car to attain it.