Do you believe in the pursuit of happiness? Do you ever think that you can reach a kind of happiness that lasts for a long time?

Here’s what two psychologists did to find out if we could:

They conducted 2 studies, one over a whole academic year, and another one during 2 weeks at a lab.

They wanted to see if pursuing self-concordant goals can lead to better goal attainment. These goals are the ones that we pursue because of interest- they’re things we like to do.

They gave questionnaires to some college students and their parents and friends. The point of these questionnaires was to:

  1. See how they perceived themselves
  2. What their family and friends thought of them

The students chose 8 personal goals to follow throughout the 1st semester. (The first cycle)

They also assessed their degree of attainment of the goals. They also repeated this for the 2nd semester. (The second cycle)

They repeated the same process in the lab for 2 weeks, to see how the shorter period would affect the results.

The results were the same for both studies.

Choosing self-concordant goals was positively linked to goal attainment. In other words, the more we like our goals, the more we have a chance of reaching them.

If we do well in our goals over a period of time, we can become better adjusted to our environment.

The better we do in achieving our goals, the better our self-concept becomes.

When we pursue goals that we’re interested in, our identity becomes stronger, and we’re more sure of ourselves.

And this pattern can continue, making us happier individuals- but it needs effort.

When we pursue personal goals that we’re interested in pursuing, we’re more motivated to reach them. When we finally do, that feeling of happiness compares to nothing else, and it helps us grow more mature in setting future goals- which leads us to greater happiness.

That first step- setting goals- can still be challenging for us. You can check out this colorful tool to see how you can overcome this first stage and set good goals for yourself.

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