Blog | Find Happiness In Your Life And Career

Thoughts, Insights and More! Scott shares his personal experiences on how to find true happiness and discover the "authentic you". 

Living Your Passion Often Requires Planning

Hello friends - this week I am posting another except from my book, Live Your Passion.  This weeks post will help you move from idea to action.  From stuck to unstuck.  After reading this material try to begin planning your own journey.  If you need additional help, consider picking up a copy of Live Your Passion, it is chock full of exercises and examples to move you from where you are to where you want to be.

Enjoy the reading, please comment on this blog so others may learn from you as well.  Thanks, and be well.....


Moving From Thought to Action

The process of moving from thought to action is an absolutely critical step toward living your passion and experiencing the happiness that comes with it.  Positive thinking, dreaming and wishing alone won’t get you there.  While these are important aspects of change, they alone will not create your new life. 

There is a great deal of personal development and success literature available. Books, CDs, DVDs, social media sites and blogs abound, offering the “secret” to a happier and more successful life, promising financial success, harmonious relationships and good health simply through positive thinking. These claims seem too good to be true. In my opinion, they are. While these approaches can produce short-term hope and feelings of happiness, they simply do not produce lasting results.  

In my research on happiness and goal achievement, one of the common denominators I have found is accepting responsibility for life’s outcomes. Not just through our thoughts and feelings, but by taking action as well.  It is this combination, I believe, that makes good things happen because it creates the bridge between our spiritual side (thoughts and feelings) and our pragmatic side (planning and acting).  Knowing this can help us make good choices, even though they may sometimes be difficult.

In an article which appeared in the European Review of Social Psychology in 1993, Peter M. Gollwitzer points to a strong connection between intentions and goal achievement.  He suggests that people most often realize their goals when they take deliberate action to achieve them, resulting in a new level of happiness.

We can think of examples in our own lives where we set goals we never accomplish.  New Year’s resolutions are a great example. If all we need for meeting goals is positive thought filled with desire, why do so many of us fail to realize our New Year’s resolutions (goals)? 

Lots of research has been done over the years to support the notion that we most often realize our goals when we put a pencil to paper (or fingers to the keyboard) and write down what we want and how we intend to get it.  From my own personal experience, the best and quickest way to achieve goals in life is to take action – even if it means starting with very small steps.

Creating Your Roadmap

I once heard a speaker say that most people spend more time planning for a summer vacation than they do planning their life.  His words stuck with me because he’s right.  This chapter will help you make sure you have everything you need for life’s journey and review your travel directions for getting there.  Planning Your Journey is about creating a roadmap that will serve as a guide to get you to your destination.  In this case, your destination is that place on the Road to Happiness we call your passion, where you experience a happier and more fulfilling life. 

Creating the roadmap starts by looking at the option you chose in the previous section as the passion you want to pursue.  This passion is your destination, your end-point.  You now need to consider how you might break that option down into goals you achieve along the way.

Many of us use the acronym “SMART” to help people understand the goal setting process:

S = specific (not vague or general)

M = measurable (can be measured objectively)

A = achievable (can be a stretch yet possible)

R = realistic (within reason)

T = time bound (achieve by a certain date)

Let’s use an example to illustrate –

If your goal is “fitness and good health” you will need to define things consistent with the acronym “SMART:”

  • By 12/31/2010 I will weigh 150lbs.
  • By 6/30/2010 I will have an average blood pressure reading of 110/80.
  • By 7/31/2010 I will have a waistline of 32 inches.
  • By 10/15/2010 I will have exercised 30 minutes, 3 times a week, for 12 weeks in a row.

Milestones Along the Way

Each of the above represents a smaller sub-goal or milestone along the way to achieving your larger goal of fitness and good health. Milestones are those things we can identify as we move along our road to happiness and that help us see the progress we are making. These smaller goals use the “SMART” concept in that they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and bound by a timeline.

As you plan your journey, it is critical that you look at your destination as a big goal and think about milestones to accomplish on the way.  Your milestones will also make it easier to see your progress as you move along your road to happiness toward your larger goal.

Am I There Yet?

The question “am I there yet” is interesting because it reminds me that the journey is just as important as the destination.  So often people get caught up in achieving their goals and lose sight of their journey.  If you are living a life based on your values, and you have made choices to pursue options that are important to you, the journey is really as important and rewarding as the destination.  This is an important point, and one I hope you can incorporate into your life. If you understand this, and live a life in concert with these ideas, you will experience happiness and fulfillment as a byproduct of your journey, regardless of your destination!

Consider Jim’s story.  When Jim set out to find his soul mate — the love of his life — he knew it might take time.  Jim had been divorced for a few years and had intentionally not dated because he wanted to put some space between his unhappy marriage and his meeting that special person.   As Jim began the process of dating, he realized that while he did not meet that perfect person (destination) right away, he did meet some wonderful, interesting women (milestones).  In fact, some of these women became life-long friends.  Eventually Jim met Susan and the two have a happy, passionate life together.  Now, when Jim tells the story of his dating experiences, he highlights the positive aspects of the journey and fun he had along the way.  Jim set out to find a soul mate and he reached this destination or goal.  Jim also saw his journey as an important part of his life, filled with milestones along the way which he’ll always cherish.

Planning Ahead

As I stated earlier, you begin the process of planning by looking into the future to see what your life might “look” like when you are living your new passion.  Seeing it in your mind’s eye is always the first step in realizing it.  If it looks good, planning is the next important step.  As you set your goals and identify your milestones, you also need to think about what resources will be required to achieve them. Consider resources in terms of the money, time, knowledge and people you will need to reach your destination.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • ·       What costs do I need to consider? 
  • ·       Where will the money come from? 
  • ·       How much money do I have and how much will I need?
  • ·       How much time will I need to devote to this journey? 
  • ·       How will I schedule this time based on my current situation?
  • ·       What knowledge do I need to get, and how will I get it?
  • ·       Who do I know personally or by reputation who has done this?
  • ·       How can I get in touch with this person?
  • ·       Is there a social media network such as a Facebook or Ning groups I can join to gain information?