Goals can be really good for a lot of things, and according to new research, they can even contribute to your happiness! But it’s not just any type of goal that does that, rather only a certain type of goals.
Read on to find out more about the new research on goals and what type of goals help with happiness.
Goals and happiness
The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, found that changing your mindset about the immediate future can change how long you can stay happy.
The researchers performed a test wherein the subjects rated a song based on the overall positive feelings the song triggers. Lindsey Stirling’s Electric Daisy Violin was played. Some of the subjects were asked to rate the song in more general terms like “feeling good”, while others rated the song with more specific terms like “feeling excited”. People who used more general terms felt happier than people who used specific terms. Since they had been advised to watch out for more general positivity, they felt more happiness. They could also easily recall the song.
A second study was conducted to examine happiness in a longer lasting scale. The participants were asked to consider a $100 or more purchase they had made in a month. The participants were college students, and were divided into 3 groups. The first group was asked about a large purchase that they thought would make them happier (this is considered a general goal). The second group thought of a purchase that would increase their excitement and enjoyment (a specific goal). As for the third group, they were asksd to think of a purchase that would increase their relaxation and peace of mind – this was different from the first two but also a specific goal.
There were 3 check-ins over a duration of 6 weeks. The participants that were primed with general questions were the happiest. Why so? The irony is that, when people start listing down their happiness goals, the less happy they become. So apparently, being specific isn’t always the answer! So it can be a good idea, whenever you plan for something or set a goal, to ask yourself what you want to get out of it in general.
Specific goals are definitely useful, and even essential. But broad goals, as it turns out, matter as well.
What are your thoughts on broad goals and happiness? What type of goals do you usually set?
Share your thoughts, tips and ideas in the comments section below.
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