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How Satisfied Are You With Your Life? Check These Graphs Out

How Satisfied Are You With Your Life? Check These Graphs Out

We only live once. Who doesn’t want to make the best out of it? Below are three graphs that illustrate the important things we should have in our lives in order to be more satisfied.

Note that these graphs are used to illustrate some key ideas but not based on science or aligning with strict maths rules.

motivation_hand

    How Motivated Are You?

    You may think that the more motivated someone is, the happier he/she is and hence life satisfaction would be greater. However, note that motivation is just about enthusiasm, it doesn’t include planning or setting goals, which are the fundamentally important steps to achieve something. When we’re motivated, we can be encouraged to perform better, or blinded by the excitement brought by it. When one is motivated but lacks reasoning and a clear mindset, he can end up being overwhelmed and in a worse situation than having little motivation. This is why the life satisfaction curve fluctuates so much in the graph. Either you’re highly motivated or rarely motivated, it’s hard to decide your level of life satisfaction.

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    Then, what’s the gap between motivation and life satisfaction? When goals are set, performance usually would be better, hence making us more satisfied. That’s why Lifehack always encourages users to add goals.

    See the below graph about the relationship between number of goals and level of life satisfaction.

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    number of goals_hand

      Number of Goals

      Without clear goals, tremendous motivation wouldn’t be enough.

      But does it mean we should have as many goals as possible? No, quantity isn’t always directly proportional to quality. There is an optimal number. Once that number is exceeded, we can be easily overwhelmed. We’ll lose focus and can only make small progress for each little goal. To fully untap your potential, focus is essential.

      How many is the best? There is no absolute answer. It depends. Some people can only focus on one goal at a time, some can focus on five at a time.

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      Signs that you’re taking too few goals

      • you don’t know your direction
      • you can’t tell what you’re going to do next
      • what you describe is very vague that you can’t remember well too
      • you’re always thinking about the utopia and rarely take any actions

      Signs that you’re taking too many goals

      • you always feel that you have too little time
      • you can’t remember how many goals you have
      • you feel overwhelmed

      Signs that you’re having the optimal number of goals

      • you know what you’re working on and what you’ll work on next
      • you can state and elaborate all your goals to someone very clearly
      • you work hard and play hard

      What’s even more important than the number of goals?

      Before the “optimal number” line, the curve is still fluctuating, like the first graph. It is because there is one more important factor than the number. It is how well you stick to your goals, i.e. how you work towards them. Overall, the more goals we have (before reaching the optimal number), the more satisfied we would be with our life. But the level of satisfaction fluctuates a bit since goals being set does not mean goals being stuck with or achieved. Remember how many times you’ve written down a list of new year resolutions and forgotten them after a month? Don’t be frustrated though! That’s already a big step!

      growth_hand

        The Most Important Factor: How Well You Stick To Your Goals

        The most important factor is the hardest to be fulfilled. At the same time, as you can see from the graph, the return is promising. The better we stick to our goals, the greater our life satisfaction is. Such growth is exponential as what we’ve achieved would help us advance more quickly and hence contributes to even larger increase in satisfaction.

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        However, it’s often hard to start by yourself. It’s always good to seek help and learn from others. Lifehack Goal Setting System is a hearty system that makes every small progress counts. By providing practical and useful articles, users would be guided through the process and achieve remarkable outcomes.

        Note that how you set your goals is also extremely important. When the goals are too vague, they’re not much different from motivation, which means it’ll lead you back to the situation illustrated in the first graph. A good example is “I always stare at a screen and that hurts my eyes. I want to keep my eyes naturally healthy!“.

        Maybe you would ask why it is “how well we stick to our goals” instead of “how many goals are achieved”. This is because goals mainly act as a roadmap/direction for us to follow through. As long as we make progress towards it, it is a kind of growth that will make us happier.

        Setting goals

        According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, concrete prosocial goals can boost our happiness better than non-social ones. You may take this into account when setting your own goals.

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        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        No!

        It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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        But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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        What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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        But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

        1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
        2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
        3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
        4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
        5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
        6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
        7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
        8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
        9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
        10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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