During times of uncertainty and interconnected challenges, we may feel lost and find it difficult to believe that we can plan for our future. It is however possible to find meaning and positivity in times of crisis. It is also not only wise to plan for our future no matter the circumstances, but I would suggest it is detrimental to our well-being if we do not plan to create a healthy environment for ourselves during times of crisis.
If we can create healthy social relationships, build positive pillars for our positive emotions to naturally occur, increase our financial intellect and also improve the health of our physical form then we can have a much better chance of surviving a world crisis and also a foundation for positive emotions for ourselves and our loved ones.
How then can we set goals and have a better chance of achieving such goals?
Why is it the case that we set rewarding goals and have a strong surge of passion and then we quickly lose our motivation? Why do certain individuals achieve or surpass their goals and others fail to do so?
Not solely, but one of the biggest reasons people can fail to actively pursue a goal several months after the goal has been set is due to the lack of early foundational enjoyment of the process. Positive emotion is one of the biggest human motivators. Notably, enjoyment during the first week of new activity and positive emotions during the actual activity itself can have profound effects on an individual still partaking in such activity many months later.
Therefore, whether your goal is financial, starting a new educational course, health or more; it is vitally important that you enjoy the first few sessions of those activities.
How can we make financial planning fun? Some examples may include:
- Creating colourful mood boards with our loved ones and collages on how we want our life to look like in the future.
- Use post-it notes and fun stickers and make as much colour as possible in your planning.
- Reward the small victories. This could include some additional savings, earnings or selling ‘clutter’ from your home. Reward yourself with your favourite film, food or even an hour that is just for you.
By creating an environment for positive emotions to flourish and by rewarding the small step by step wins, you will create a much healthier environment for your goals. It is wiser to create dynamics for positive emotions and to naturally allow the cascades of positive emotions to happen rather than pursuing happiness.
Emotional intelligence teaches us that when we feel low often our values and needs have not been met and vice versa when we feel positive our values and needs have been met. Many of us set goals based on visions created by outside dynamics that we believe will make us happy. An example of this could be believing you will be happy if you are rich or you may believe you would be happy if you looked similar to a fitness model. In reality, singular domain goal setting will rarely make us happy as it is too linear and also our personal deeper values may not align with popular media theories on happiness and well-being.
Therefore it is much wiser and healthier for us to set goals that we not only enjoy during the process as described above; but also based on our values so that we have a structure to follow based on our true self.
You may set a goal to be rich and to have a nice car or you may set a goal based on deeper values that would suggest you would like a certain income stream that could result in the health and care of your children and an ability to help solve issues around poverty in your local community. By aligning your goals with deeper values and also taking on action to help others you will not only help others grow, increase your own personal development and you will much more likely succeed with your goal.
Talk to a loved one or close friend and make a commitment to work together on goals that aim to create a healthy environment for yourselves. Be creative and make the early activities fun and include others well-being and care in your longer-term vision.
David Chorlton is a positive psychology practitioner, emotional intelligence teacher, and mindfulness teacher.