I've been doing a lot of contemplation this week. I blame most of it on being sick and virtually confined to my house for 2 days.
Also, because of a question a friend asked me this past weekend - "What is your 5 year plan?"
After hours of deliberation I realize any potential answer I had all went back to the same end goal - to be Happy.
It's an admirable goal to be sure, but it's so abstract it can be difficult to create a plan on how to achieve it. So, I went back to an old technique I picked up in graduate school and have my students do when they are trying to brainstorm ideas - I created a concept map.
Here is mine - there are no strict rules to this exercise, it's merely a way to get your imagination flowing and try to develop concrete attainable goals for whatever your primary focus is.
As I stated in the video, if you truly have no idea what your goals are for the next year (or 5) ask yourself; What do I most regret not doing last year? Whatever pops into your head first should be a good starting point! Also, don't be afraid to dream big. I overestimated how much I need to make annually to live comfortably and travel often by about 20% because I'd rather aim high than low.
While your working on your map you should tap into the idea of free association. Don't over-think things and censor your thoughts for being 'silly' or 'unattainable'. If your goal is to eat a romantic dinner in Paris with Johnny Depp (or John Stamos in my case) - put it on the list! Then start working on 'branches' of that goal that may help get you there.
Remember - it's all fine and dandy to have goals, but they require WORK. Good old-fashioned time, energy and commitment.
But, isn't achieving a goal you've been working on for a while the best damn feeling?
So, what are your goals for the next year? Do you know what you need to do to achieve them?
For more happiness inspiration check out my '100 Days of Data' Video Project!