We all have goals for the future. Most of us tend to think of them in terms like “Once I am financially secure, I’ll be happy.” A better alternative may be to look backwards, instead.
As personal finance blog Modest Money explains, there’s always a gap between your current situation and your future “happiness” when you achieve your goals. While it’s good to have goals, they don’t have to be the condition your happiness is based on. Instead of anticipating future satisfaction a couple years away, examine your life two years ago to gauge how happy you are with your life now:
Rather than constantly focusing on your future, remind yourself regularly of where you were 2 years ago. What did your life look like? What was your career like? How were you? And when you think about that, celebrate how far you’ve come in the last 2 years.
You need to train yourself not to only think about the future but to also celebrate what you’ve accomplished in the past. Pay attention to your “reverse gap” the period during which you had successes but also difficulties that you’ve overcome. That’s how you create happiness and gratitude in the now.
Having goals and appreciating progress can exist in tandem, but they both require conscious effort. If you’re always focused on the goals you haven’t accomplished yet, you’ll miss out on the rewards for all the hard work that past-you put in to bring you to the place you’re at today.
How to Double Your Happiness by Flipping “Your Gap” | Modest Money via Rockstar Finance
Photo by Paul Wilkinson.