I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you should have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in — no need to catch up, just jump in now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.
One thing I’ve really noticed as I’ve done my Happiness Project is that when I want to make a change, it really helps to set a target.
We all have a lot of vague resolutions rattling around in our brains – “I want to make some new friends/exercise more/spend more time reading/keep the house tidier/stop nagging” – but the trick is to figure out how to KEEP those resolutions.
Setting a target helps in several ways:
Targets make a vague goal concrete
Targets provide accountability – it’s easy to judge whether you hit your goal, or not
Reviewing your target keeps your resolution fresh and vivid in your mind
Any resolution can be translated into a target.
For example, targets for “eat healthier” could be: eat one meal a day made up only of fruits and vegetables; eat three kinds of vegetables a day; at the grocery store, for every package of crackers/cookies/chips, buy a bag of fruits or vegetables.
Targets for keeping the house tidier could be: before bed, spend 10 minutes tidying up; hang up my coat every time I walk in the apartment; make my bed every morning. The first goal in the delightful Flylady’s system is to “Shine your sink” EVERY day.
It’s true that targets are easier to set when the goals involve very concrete actions. Targets can be harder to devise for goals relating to attitude and behavior – being more polite, staying calm, practicing loving-kindness. But it can be done.
I had a lot of success with my target to make three friends in every new situation. Setting a target for friendship could seem forced and inauthentic, but in fact, it has helped me act friendlier and, yes, make more friends.
In fact, one of the most useful aspects of setting a target is that it forces you to imagine how you’ll translate your desire for high-minded change into action in the real world.
I asked some friends if they’d ever set a target for themselves.
One friend set the target of remaining Blackberry-free between 7:00-9:00, so that he wouldn’t be distracted while he was with his kids.
Another friend has a sister going through a rough period, so she set a target of calling or emailing her sister once each day.
Another friend has a tendency to over-spend, so she doesn’t allow herself to use a credit card for anything that costs less than $300. That way, she cut down on the “minor” purchases that were adding up to a major expenditure by the end of each month.
If you’re vowing to make a change in your life, figure out a way to set a target for yourself – a concrete, measurable, and manageable target. It’s surprisingly effective.
Via Gimundo, I found a story that will make a lot of people (mostly men) very happy: scientists may have discovered the genetic cause of balding — which may then make it possible to stop the balding process.
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