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How to be Happy & Successful: the Sweet Spot Between Effort & Letting Go

Setting Goals is NOT the Answer

Striving toward happiness is instinctive. So why do we find ourselves forcing ourselves forward grimly in the pursuit of goals?

Parents, teachers, managers, self-help gurus and the person next to you on the bus all are saying that you need to set goals to achieve success. Success will make you happy. Set still more goals and keep the wheel rolling until you rejoin the stardust.

Guess what? They’re all wrong.

A setting of goals is not the answer. Goals will make you neither successful nor happy.

There is a high statistical probability that goal setting will make you downright depressed and desperate. After all, according to Statistic Brain, 9.2% of Americans felt they were successful in achieving their New Year’s Resolution in 2017.

If less then 90% of people are succeeding in meeting their goal, then it’s no wonder that only around 40% of Americans set a New Years Resolution.

It’s too painful to fail.

It isn’t that you are lazy, or don’t want to reach for a balanced life of success, health, love, and bliss. It can seem impossible. Setting goals toward getting there, and failing to achieve them, can leave us feeling worse than having never hoped for a better life at all.

So if a setting of goals isn’t the answer, then what is?

There are people out there losing weight, finishing books, improving their relationships, starting a meditation practice, training for marathons, learning a new instrument, completing further education, quitting smoking, eating healthier, and starting a regular, consistent yoga practice each morning.

If goals didn’t result in their success, then what did?

Your Unique Success & Happiness Recipe

Do you want to shift your life toward more success and happiness?

Your first step is to contemplate what on success and happiness mean to you.

Sure, happiness to me could be a minimalistic home and clean, white space, and the sound of doves cooing in my garden as I drink espresso and write. Another’s happiness is the uplift of laughing with new friends while rafting down white rapids.

You have your unique happiness recipe. Add

¼ cup of solitude,

a colossal helping of quality time with loved ones here,

a cup of making forward progress at work,

a half cup of learning, a dash of adventure,

and a final sprinkle of meditation

and voila: happiness.

Find your ideal mix, and you will learn how to manifest a life that brings balance, contentment, and joy.

How much do you need on a daily and weekly basis of the following:



Quality time with Family and Friends

Adventure & Novelty

Meditation or Prayer




The next step is to define what success means to YOU. Write down, yes, put pen to paper and write down your definition of success. Be honest and authentic.

Now you have your happiness recipe and definition of success. You can work backward from your ideal life to the steps needed to get there. Turn the steps into daily and weekly habits that produce pleasure and avoid pain.

Do you want to know a secret to make it easier?

Connect your habits, so one always triggers a few minutes of joy before start the next habit in the sequence. The few minutes of joy between habit activities is critical. The brain and body crave pleasure. Infuse your sequence of actions with rewards to cement them into habits.

Celebrating incremental wins will trigger the release of endorphins in your brain and body and reinforce the habit you want to form.