Future Friendly. . .

There are some that think or feel mindfulness and presence require us to only focus on now with little regard for futures or past. Though we can all benefit from more presence in the moment to not grow from our past or consider the future is not fully living with intention.

Feeling good about the future is important for our happiness. We all need goals to motivate us and these need to be challenging enough to excite us, but also achievable. If we try to attempt the impossible this brings unnecessary stress. Choosing ambitious but realistic goals gives our lives direction and brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when we achieve them. 

Happiness doesn’t just happen – it comes from thinking, planning and pursuing goals that are important to us. Scientific research shows that setting and working towards goals can contribute to happiness in various ways, including:

  • Being a source of interest, engagement or pleasure
  • Giving us a sense of meaning and purpose
  • Bringing a sense of accomplishment when we achieve what we set out to (or milestones along the way) – this also builds our confidence and belief in what we can do in the future 

Goals help focus our attention. Actively working towards them appears to be as important for our well-being as achieving the end results we are aiming for. Goals are most successful when they’re something we really want to achieve and when we set them with intention for ourselves – rather than being something someone else wants us to do.

But it’s important we keep our feet on the ground. An overly optimistic outlook or pursuit can be unhelpful. Being optimistic does not mean blindly ignoring the negative facts. Having unrealistically high expectations can lead to disappointment, a sense of failure and a more pessimistic view of the future.

When we think about the future we are all guessing to some degree – so we have to base our goals and our judgments on what little we know now. Taking a realistic but hopeful view of the outcomes increases the likelihood that things really will turn out ok. 

Peace and Love, Jim

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