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Learn the art of goal setting from a top psychiatrist to stay happy and content

Published on:22 December 2020, 12:56pm IST
Goal setting is no rocket science, but it takes a lot to stick to your goals. Read on to know more.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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If you want 2021 to be your year, then it’s important to learn the mantra of happiness from experts. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Have you ever googled the meaning of happiness? We doubt. So, let’s tell you what Oxford has to say, when it comes to the definition of happiness. It calls it the pleasurable contentment of the mind. So, if you are content, then you are happy. And to be content, you need a goal and perseverance to achieve it.

Every New Year’s eve, most of us make certain goals, and as the year progresses, most of them vanish in thin air. But, why did it happen in the first place? That’s because most of the time we bang our heads on the wrong wall. We consider things that are more connected with materialism, and less towards internal happiness and contentment.

According to Dr Rahul Khemani, a psychiatrist from Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai we need to understand that our goals and happiness are interlinked.

We have two types of goals, mentions Dr Khemani

1. Intrinsic goals: These are those goals that are connected with our own psychology. It is us who have to do everything to fulfill them, and no external force can help there. Intrinsic goals are linked to yourself; your personal growth, health and relationships with yourself and others.

“Self-acceptance is the key to achieving intrinsic goals. You need to introspect. What you think, feel, or how you behave decides everything, when it comes to achievement,” suggests Dr Khemani.

2. Extrinsic goals: These goals are related to external influence. Things like money, fame, status, or anything else that requires validation from others comes in here.

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“Unfortunately, I don’t think any extrinsic goal gives us happiness. They might be means of happiness. But, the problem with means is they are never ending, so extracting happiness from them is almost useless,” advises Dr Khemani.

To set goals for happiness, you should start by asking these questions to yourself:

Q 1 What are my values?

Q 2 What I want to achieve?

Q 3 Who am I? What’s my purpose?

Q 4 What’s my path?

Basically, all these questions are intrinsic in nature. Our habits give us happiness and they don’t have to be complex. Even a simple thing like cleaning your home, cooking, gardening, etc. can make you happy, and these can also be set as daily goals to feel a sense of contentment.

“We are born the way we are, but we can decide who we want to die as,” says Dr Rahul.

Four things you should remember, before you set your goals for 2021
1. Goals should be concrete

Goals that you can’t measure are not goals but some form of desire. In all probability, you won’t be able to achieve them, because you haven’t chalked out a plan. You should keep them short-term, so that you can stay motivated through and through.

“I ask my clients to divide their goals into one year, five years, and 20 years, and chart out their goals accordingly. In fact, one should make daily goals as they keep you up,” recommends Dr Khemani.

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2. Goals should not be about finishing work

If you set your goals, just like another task that you want to start and get over with, then there is no fun. Plus, there are high chances that you will drop it midway. “You always have time for yourself. This will make you happy. It is always better if you work towards something, rather than escaping it,” says Dr Khemani.

3. Break your goals

“What you want to do, plan out, make a roadmap, so that you know where you are going. And track if you are going right or wrong,” suggests Dr Khemani.

4. Celebrate your achievements

You need to reward yourself, that’s the only way to enjoy your goal fulfillment journey. But, rather than rewarding yourself with something materialistic, give yourself an experience because that will have a longer shelf life. It will be engraved in your memory and help you strive for more.

“Striving constantly to achieve more is not happiness. It is just an endless loop. Instead, be focused on finishing things on a daily basis. So, you sleep every night with a sense of contentment and happiness,” concludes Dr Khemani.

Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.