Being happier – With SCIENCE!.. and goals

The fact is having a goal, and honestly looking forward to accomplishing it is what gives us this rush. That goal can be as big as buying your first home, or as small as running the vacuum today.

You’ve probably heard of dopamine before. It’s a little chemical that gets released into our brains that tells us that something good just happened and makes us want it again.

This something good can be a kiss, a piece of pizza, a complement or many , many other things. It can be accomplishing a goal.

Think about a time that you had a big goal and the feeling you had when you accomplished it.  How happy did it make you feel?

A few years ago Chris and I decided we wanted to buy a house. It was our goal, and it was a big scary first time one for us both. There was an incredible amount of work involved, from looking for the house to the mortgage to inspections and 100 other little things. It was a giant goal!

But oh man that feeling when we got the keys. The first time we opened that door and it was ours! We did it!

That was a great day, the accomplishment of a huge involved life goal and my brain rewarded me with lots of dopamine being released, making me feel good. Now how cool would it be to get that feeling every day?

The fact is having a goal, and honestly looking forward to accomplishing it is what gives us this rush. That goal can be as big as buying your first home, or as small as running the vacuum today.

Wait a minute you say, I ran the vacuum last week and I didn’t get any kind of happy rush!

Ah! But was it a goal? Was it something that you were honestly looking forward to accomplishing? Or was it just a thing in your routine that you had to get done or feel guilty about?

If what has to be done is something that would not naturally give us the dopamine rush we can trick our minds into it by making that thing a goal and thinking about how we will benifit from completing it.

Change how you think of your daily to do list. Get rid of thoughts like “I have to” and replace them with “my goal is”. Instead of thinking about how bad you’ll feel if you don’t get them done think about how good it will feel to have them finished. Thoughts have power and we can harness that!

By setting these micro goals and attaining them we are celebrating things that we would normally dislike or dismiss. By changing the way we look at things we have to do anyway we can train our brains that these are good things and getting them done will help you feel happier.

I really really REALLY need to dust my house. There is just an insane layer of dust everywhere. Looking at it makes me feel bad, but I hate dusting so there it sits.

So I change the way I look at the problem. My goal now is to dust the living room before I publish this post. I know I can do it, I know it will only take me a few minutes. That is my goal and I’m going to set my determination to it. I know that getting this done will take away the bad feeling I get every time I look around the room and that I’ll be able to take pictures in the room to share without fear of what all the dust looks like.

This is why one of my core values in Being the Happy is to “accomplish something”. The truth is as long as you are looking at what you have to do with a positive mindset, and following that with giving yourself credit for accomplishing it you are taking steps that even science agrees will make you feel happier.

By the way, I did finish the dusting.  It felt good, but then I realized it all went onto the carpet and I had to run the vacuum.  But that’s ok because the carpet was full of stuffie filling from a dog toy.  So new goal!  Make the living room clean and presentable.  Now I can be proud of how the room looks.

What if your goal is a huge one like buying a house where you know you’ll have to work hard for a long time before it will be filled? What can help motivate you to keep going?

Micro goals!!

I’ll let you guys in on a secret, my long term goal is to be able to make a living off this site. (not with ads everywhere or anything annoying, I promise!) That is a huge goal that is likely a year or more away, making it very hard to stay on track and motivated to. I’m not going to see results for probably weeks or months, how can I trick my mind into keeping up the motivation?

Micro goals!! I know most of the steps to my big goal, so why not break those down into managemable smaller goals that I know I can reach?

My current day to day goals for this are pretty easy. To add content to the site and the Facebook page every day. Post at least 2 things on Instagram. Read at least 3 blog posts by other people and comment on them. I could go on, it’s a big list right now, but each goal is something I can accomplish every day and yet will build into helping me reach the big one.

I’ll tell you what, I’ve hit all of these goals every day so far and it feels GOOD! Even right now when I don’t have many readers or much feedback from the world I still feel great about it. I set my goals and I made them! I am moving on the right path to my larger goal and day by day. I’m still far away from my end goal, yet I am happy and satisfied and motivated to keep going.

So go into your daily tasks as not chores, but goals! Tell yourself that they are goals, psych yourself up about getting them done and then most importantly recognize and credit yourself for getting them done. You’ll be more motivated to get things done and you’ll feel happier for what you have done.

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6 Replies to “Being happier – With SCIENCE!.. and goals”

    1. Haha we have to do it anyway, may as well make it a positive thing! Trust me, I need some brain tricking to want to clean my house too.

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