How Setting Micro-goals Can Increase Happiness

Writing a list of micro-goals

It’s easy to feel pressure to make, and then meet, life-changing resolutions at the start of each year. Maybe you pledge to lose 50 pounds, get in a workout in every day or go completely sugar free. But once January wraps up, many find themselves unable to fully realize them, leaving a lingering feeling of discouragement and frustration in its wake. But there is another way — setting realistic micro-goals.

The idea is simple: For any goal you are aiming to accomplish, micro-goals break down the large task into manageable, bite-sized parts. Rather than thinking about nailing that big-picture accomplishment, stay focused on achieving small nuggets of progress and go after them one tiny increment at a time.

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What Is Happiness, Anyway?

Person sitting by the ocean

If you Google the phrase “how to be happy,” you’ll be met with about 207 million answers.

There’s the recent study that examined how much money a person needs to make to lead the happiest and most satisfied life possible ($95,000/year for overall satisfaction, and $60-75,000 for day-to-day happiness). There’s a quiz on how to be happier at work, infinite mommy blogs detailing how to find personal happiness as a mom, wellness publications offering unconventional ways to boost happiness, religious content exploring what happiness looks like as a Christian … you get the point. Everyone has something to say about what it means to be happy. As a result, happiness feels almost like a myth.

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Why We Can’t Wait Around for That Big Happy Moment

time to be happy written in beach sand wave behind

Why We Can’t Wait Around for That Big Happy Moment” originally appeared on Shine, a free daily text to help you thrive.

“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness” – Pearl S. Buck

It was a chilly evening in my cramped Brooklyn apartment, so I lit a candle and rolled out a yoga mat. I got into Child’s Pose, and, out of nowhere, I started crying. It wasn’t just a few tears I could dab away with my shirtsleeve—it was a snot-induced, ugly cry. I asked myself, “Why do I feel so unhappy?”

I think about happiness a lot, and I often wonder if I think about the emotion more than I actually feel it. On my tear-stained yoga mat, I realized that I hold out for happiness. Maybe I’ll feel it momentarily, but it’s fleeting. I’m always thinking of the bigger picture and waiting to be happy. Continue reading Why We Can’t Wait Around for That Big Happy Moment

Why Happiness is Overrated, According to a Therapist

green color pencil drawing smile on figures

Often times people come into therapy hoping to finally tackle issues like anxiety or depression. Clients have come into my office wishing for me to share my keys to “happiness.” Sometimes they are disappointed to find I actually don’t think happiness is a reasonable goal.

There is a lot of information, particularly in the positive psychology movement, about finding the keys to happiness. You can use affirmations and daily validations to help lift your mood. You can organize your life and change your behavior, all in an effort to secure this feeling of happiness.

There’s a lot of validity to those suggestions. Nonetheless, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to search for “happiness” to begin with. Continue reading Why Happiness is Overrated, According to a Therapist