During the past year I developed a seminar entitled TThe eight drivers of contentment. In the seminar I talk about being happy in eight dimensions of your life with the result of putting in place an action plan to work on those areas of your life that are most important to you and in which you are least happy. In the seminar we examined the following eight areas:
- Professional satisfaction – How satisfied are you in your current and future career potential
- Financial satisfaction – How satisfied are you in your current and future financial status
- Family contentment – How satisfied are you in your family relationships
- Health satisfaction – How satisfied are you with your physical and mental health
- Leisure satisfaction – How satisfied are you with the quality time spent on leisure activities
- Inherited satisfaction – How satisfied are you with the legacy you are leaving behind if you die today?
- Relational contentment – How satisfied you are with the relationships built and maintained with friends and loved ones
- Spiritual contentment – How satisfied are you with your spiritual life
Since developing the seminar, I have found multiple uses for the content, including helping a colleague assess a major career change, and more recently using it as an annual personal planning tool, which is what I’d like to talk about more. At the beginning of the year many of us embarked on some goal to achieve, that is, lose weight, get a better job, etc. I am in favor of doing so, with two different requirements:
- The goal setting exercise should consider your life holistically rather than just one aspect of your life,
- The goal should be expressed in terms of what you can be realistic with what you can be satisfied with by the end of the year, not a goal that is too high that deep down you know you will not be able to achieve.
By meeting those two requirements, this year I decided to look at my life from the point of view of each of the eight satisfaction drivers and come up with 1-2 items that I would be happy to accomplish by the end of the year. I have more aggressive goals in some areas and less in others. The point is not to try to work yourself to death trying to achieve a hyper-aggressive goal that deep down I know I will not be able to achieve; is being realistic about what I think I would like and need to achieve.
To help you in your planning, I have included a simple Excel spreadsheet that you can use to aid your planning using my eight satisfaction boosters with my compliments. The spreadsheet contains four columns:
- The area of satisfaction
- How important is that area of satisfaction to you (Extremely important, Very important, Somewhat important, Not so important, Not at all important)
- What result would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
- What you need to do to achieve the result.
As you embark on your goal setting journey, remember to keep a few things in mind:
- Be realistic about what you agree to do
- Evaluate your progress regularly
- Be persistent
- Don’t be afraid to change your goals if something in your life changes.
Lastly, while this can be an effective tool to help you develop good goals, at the end of the day it is just a tool. You have to act and be disciplined to achieve the goals you set for yourself.
To a happy and happy new year!