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Last Updated on May 6, 2021

Why People With Ambitious Goals Are Happier and More Satisfied

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Why People With Ambitious Goals Are Happier and More Satisfied

We often believe we would be happier if we were more grateful. This might mean not pushing yourself too hard and accepting what you already have in your life. This can lead us to assume that ambitious people are less happy, as they’re always busy working on their ambitious goals instead of living in the present.

However, a study has proven the opposite.

Ambitious Goals Vs Conservative Goals

A study conducted at the University of California-Riverside[1] compared people who set ambitious goals to those who set more conservative goals. The researchers discovered that people who set ambitious goals experienced greater satisfaction overall, despite having similar outcomes to those who set conservative goals.

It seems out when you set ambitious goals versus conservative goals, you end up feeling that you have achieved more against the odds.

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Often, when we set a goal, we expect a specific result. If we set a conservative goal, we get conservative results. The opposite is true when you set an ambitious goal, as you end up getting astonishing results in the short term or long term.

In this study conducted at the University of California-Riverside, researchers pointed out that people often set goals with two main reasons in mind: expectancy and value. The expectancy portion of the goal is how likely the person will be successful at achieving their goal. The value portion relates to how good it will feel when you reach your goal.

When you set a goal, be mindful of also setting aside limiting beliefs. Goals are set to achieve something bigger than what you are currently doing. So, why set a conservative goal that will only get you conservative results? Ambitious goals provide great results when achieved.

The tricky thing about goals is knowing whether or not the goal is for personal growth or if it is a “worldly goal”. Besides ambitious goals, setting goals full of intrinsic value are great for your overall happiness. So, step out of your comfort zone when you create long-term goals, and you’ll find that your personal growth increases dramatically.

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Goals for Personal Growth Are Key

Intrinsic goals are particularly important when it comes to setting ambitious goals. An intrinsic goal is one that relates to personal growth, something that is “good for the soul.” On the other hand, an extrinsic goal is a goal that relates to “worldly goals” or anything that has to do with money or social status.

A 2009 study at the University of Rochester[2] requested 147 college graduates share their life aspirations and the end result.

The students who set intrinsic goals focused on goals such as working on personal relationships and expanding personal growth. The students who set extrinsic goals focused on fame, earning a certain dollar figure, and appearance.

In the end, the students who set intrinsic goals versus extrinsic goals experienced a higher level of happiness. Those who set extrinsic goals reported no improvement in their well-being, even after achieving their goal.

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Intrinsic goals can keep you motivated and help you avoid procrastination. If you find that you slip into this habit, this Lifehack Fast-Track Class can help: No More Procrastination.

The Relationship Between Goals and Happiness

The findings related to ambitious goals can actually be explained by a psychological theory, the Self-Determination Theory[3], which states that there are three things people need in order to be happy in the long run:

  1. Autonomy: The sense of being in control of their behavior and goals
  2. Competence: Having mastery over tasks and skills
  3. Relatedness: Having a sense of belonging and connectedness to others

Self-determination theory

    It turns out that extrinsic goals do not meet these three criteria, while intrinsic goals nourish these psychological needs to be happy.[4]

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    When you set ambitious goals, ask yourself: How will this goal provide me with a sense of being in control of my behavior? How will this goal allow me to attain a specific mastery of a skill? Will this goal afford me the opportunity to connect with others?

    Final Thoughts

    When you choose to set a goal, be mindful of whether you’re setting conservative or ambitious goals. If you want big results, set an ambitious goal. If you want to feel happier when you achieve your goal, set a goal that is an intrinsic goal that satisfies our autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

    Goals can be a scary thing to set and then to declare, but when you choose a goal that is ambitious and likely to provide happiness, dreaming big and achieving your goal will be worthwhile.

    More Tips on Setting Ambitious Goals

    Featured photo credit: Squarespace via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    More by this author

    Tara Massan

    Founder of Be Moved, Life Coach and Writer.

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    Last Updated on January 14, 2022

    7 Best Goal Planners To Get in 2022

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    7 Best Goal Planners To Get in 2022

    A few of the many obstacles to setting goals is that you either forget your goals entirely or you put them off for so long. One of the most effective tools in handling this problem is through having goal planners.

    Goal planners are a way to put your goals to paper and allow you to focus on that goal. These are great tools to be implementing new habits and boosting your overall productivity.

    With so many of these goal planners available, our editors picked out a small sample of some of the best goal planners that you can get to achieve what you want in 2022!

    Best Goal Planners Criteria

    Through our research, all the best goal planners that we picked out meet the following criteria:

    • Undated – A big issue with some planners is that they have days and years written in them. This is problematic especially when starting out goal setting. Undated versions allow you to start, stop, and take breaks without feeling like you’re wasting paper.
    • Science based – Either in their methods or in the activities these planners get you to do, these goal planners are smartly structured to help you get the most out of your day.
    • Simple, clean and organized – All of these planners are clean and organized to the point that these planners can serve as an extension of your brain. They’re able to easily organize jumbled thoughts and help you plot out your goals.

    1. Full Life Planner

    full-life-planner

      Lifehack’s Full Life Planner is a planner system built around the Full Life Framework. It’s a planner that helps you to organize every aspect of your life. The Framework has been going strong for 15 years and provides some of Lifehack’s best practices and proven success formulas.

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      Get your Full Life Planner here, or try the digital version here.

      2. Panda Planner

        The Panda Planner has been highly reviewed as another one of the best goal planners to get. On top of it providing sections for monthly, weekly, and daily planning, it offers free videos as well as e-books to show you all kinds of strategies to help in all kinds of aspects of your life.

        You can get the Panda Planner here.

        3. Law of Attraction Planner

          This is the planner for people that want to manifest something new or exciting in their lives. It helps you to set goals through prompts, to-do lists, and goal-setting tools to establish habits. On the manifestation front, it provides sections for you to show gratitude, allowing you to be thankful for what you do have and are working towards. The planner also comes with a video to help establish a 10-minute morning routine and various stickers to make your planner more unique.

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          Purchase the Law of Attraction Planner here.

          4. Little More Daily Organizer

            While it only has 328 undated pages, it offers a great focus on monthly and daily goal setting. It’s ideal if your goals and habits that you’re invested in and really want them to be sticking. How it’s able to do that is through its flexible design and also providing space for you to outline actions steps, reflect on processes, and prioritize multiple goals.

            Grab your Little More Daily Organizer here.

            5. Erin Condren Petite Planner

              Only 80 pages long, it’s efficient with its space as its packed with all kinds of features for setting goals and stick to your plans. You’re able to describe your goal, outline a “why”, and put together an action plan. The other page is a way for you to chunk large goals and put them into more manageable tasks. All around it’s a fantastic planner.

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              Try the Erin Condren Petite Planner here.

              6. The 100-Day Goal Journal

                If setting goals for a year seems daunting, another one of the best goal planners that’s short is the 100-day goal journal. It has monthly spreads, daily reflection pages where you’re able to practice gratitude and check overarching goals. It even has space for you to reflect on current challenges and offer solutions to your problems.

                Take a look at the 100-Day Goal Journal here.

                7. SELF Journal

                best-self

                  The final of the best goal planners we have to offer is SELF journal. It offers daily gratitude acknowledgement, sections to track goals on a weekly basis and also has inspirational quotes to provide that extra push of motivation. It’s only got enough pages for 13 weeks, but it’s ideal if you set a lot of shorter-term goals and want those small habits to stick.

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                  Check out the SELF Journal here.

                  Final Thoughts

                  All of our goals are achievable with the proper mindset and a system to support it. Planners have been able to precisely assist those who struggle with getting started and need help in organizing their thoughts and putting it to paper.

                  For those who want to stick to habits, try out one of these planners to help you with that process.

                  Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

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