Attainable Goals, Undefined Destinations: December 2011

Choices we make everyday!

My personal “happiness” goals for 2012 are:

  1. Kayak on the inter-coastal canals (at least) 5 times
  2.  Explore the option of making a new “best friend”: a Golden Lab (dog)
  3. Take two intriguing vacations (Alaska? Israel?Brasil?)
  4. Buy a hammock for the patio and use it once a week!
  5. Volunteer (at least) 6 times, at a local food kitchen or charity and bring the girls along
  6. Buy beach chairs and at least go to the beach 12 times in the year

In the past, I have set lofty goals that were never accomplished; I always have justifications as to why they didn’t happen – too big, brash or audacious!

Last year, I set three goals: lose 20  lbs,  learn how to play the guitar and start learning Spanish!

I have only achieved the first goal.

Never went near a guitar store, never bought that package of the Spanish Rosetta Stone (even though I have walked by their airport kiosks many times). In the mean time, I have signed on to some other goals that were not part of the thought process. Life takes such curvy turns, I have all the excuses ready as to why I didn’t accomplish my other personal objectives.

If I was a working in my “Life” business, I believe, I would have been fired by now. Finishing one of three objectives in a whole year, gives one a failing grade of 33%!

We are pretty good at setting work related goals – since corporate objectives have to be met. Why do we get have difficulty with personal goals?  These are things we always wanted to do or things that at that particular time thought, would make us happy!

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we don’t memorialize or socialize our goals with others. Most of us lack the discipline to set and prioritize our own goals.  We set too big goals setting ourselves up for failure and then, let “life” get in the way of “living”!

I wrote an essay a few months ago about making checklists and checking it off – making small, daily, achievements meaningful (!

Similarly, I believe, we need to memorialize our “happiness” goals every year – write it down somewhere where it will be visible on a continuous basis! Hiding these goals away, somewhere, in private only delays or postpones the accomplishment of the goal. I know someone, who has a picture of his ” dream boat” clipped on his closet door!

Socializing these goals, just like we do with work goals, with at least 5 close friends, may actually help us achieve these goals. These “happiness coaches” of our lives, by pestering us to achieving these goals, may actually play the role of being an advocate for making sure we do spend some for our ownselves.

Finally, we need to give ourselves some momentum; setup at least one goal that’s very achievable – very simple and affordable – like buying beach chairs!

Like a meandering river, life takes on its directions; rainfall or a storm may obstruct the flow once in a while – but the river of life continues with its full force. Rarely do we know what heartbreak or disaster lies ahead of us in this journey. Predicting tomorrow  – and it’s uncertainty is no better than playing the lottery.

In this constant uncertainty, let me argue, setting a few measurable, attainable “happiness goals” every year, is ultimately meaningful; otherwise, one day, we may wake up and find that the river has overruled and we have lost the semblence of any accomplishment that we believed could make us reasonably happy.

Happiness is not just a state of mind – happiness must be defined, and achieved on its own merit. Go ahead set a few goals for yourself for the coming year – see how it feels once you accomplish one or two of those goals!

I went to Costco today and bought a couple of beach chairs! I will start the practice of my beach going habits before the end of the year!

Finally accomplished the 3 year goal of parasailing with Daiyaan on Christmas Day 2011

2 thoughts on “Attainable Goals, Undefined Destinations: December 2011

  1. Wish you a very Happy New Year.
    Both of us enjoyed your article.
    We like your 2nd goal. Watch out, if it is to be a puppy! To our experience, a puppy needs more time and patience than a human baby does, and often it drains your energy including massive destruction of the house (depending on the breed). However, it will return every bit of your time and patients and bring unimaginable happiness and quiet time especially when you return home late at night being extremely tired. The hypertension, if any, is bound to go down!

    1. Thank you Mesbah bhai! Left you a message the other day. I don’t know if it will be a puppy or not. I want to explore the possibility.

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