Quantum Happiness Series- The Goal Garden


“Goals are dreams with deadlines.”
—Diana Scharf Hunt.

To eradicate ennui, overcome the tyranny of the urgent, and invite inspiration, we must be crystal clear to ourselves and others about what we want and how we plan to get there. Do you want: More time with your family ?  To go back to school? To start a business? To learn another language? To be a photographer, world traveler or both?

That is for you to determine. The possibilities are endless, bright, and colorful. But the grip of ennui makes it difficult to set and prioritize goals since our energy is depleted and we have trouble getting excited about anything. That inability to get excited is both a symptom and cause of ennui, both of which can be treated by setting clear goals.

A lack of goals, means there is no measurement for progress, nothing to strive for, nothing to accomplish. But clear goals give us a sense of usefulness, pride, and satisfaction, which strangles the tentacles of ennui from our lives.

Like any good garden project, we must begin by examining the soil of our goal garden: morals, values, and ethics.

The broadest category, morals, are things that we know, without question, to be right or wrong, nonnegotiable. Values are how we translate those morals to everyday life, and ethics are how we apply them to business.

For instance, let’s say that you are morally opposed to animal cruelty. How do you represent that?

·        Do pets play an important role in your life?

·        Do you adopt, rescue, or foster animals?

·        Do you take part in animal rights activist groups?

Questioning allows you to define your values.

Now, consider how that affects your work:

·        Do you refuse to work for a company that mistreats animals?

·        Do you write or blog about animal rights?

·        How does it affect the business that you do with others? 

·        Do you wear vegan leather?

·        Or buy only responsibly sourced meat?


These things that motivate you are what you must plant in your goal garden.

So, in order to define your goals, take some time and question what you feel strongly about.

·        What causes are important to you?

·        What impact do you want to leave on the world?

·        What have you always wanted to do?

By looking at it in a long view, you can see a clearer picture of your destination. Then, work backwards to determine which steps come first and what benchmarks you must pass along the way. See sample goal statements at the end of this segment.

Be aware, goals are like marigolds (we’ll call them mari-goals) when we tend to them with love, they multiply into bright blooms of possibilities and great achievements.

Once you get started, you may realize that you have many mari-goals:

·        family goals

·        household goals

·        business goals

·        fitness goals

all just waiting to be discovered.

How to prioritize and accomplish goals

Engagement Exercise 1:
Use this worksheet to explore your morals, values, and ethics to determine what is important to you and how that affects your daily choices.

My morals – Things I know to be right or wrong.






My values – How my morals are represented in my daily choices.






My ethics – How my morals and values affect my business decisions.






Engagement exercise 2:
Create a goal statement using the following examples. Keep it close and add to it whenever you discover a new mari-goal. 

Remember goals must:

·        Represent your (not someone else’s) morals, values, and ethics.

·        Be specific

·        Include details

·        Contain multiple, measurable benchmarks

o   Benchmarks should be anticipated and celebrated.

·        Include a reasonable timeline

·        Be flexible and resilient.

My Mari-Goals

(textual example):

Goal: Become a professional landscape photographer.

Short-term benchmarks: 6 months or less

·        Research and buy camera best suited to landscape photography.

·        Take weekend photography class, landscape specific if possible.

·        Practice taking landscape photos on weekends.

·        Practice editing photos during the evening after dinner.

·        Create social media accounts and begin sharing photos online.

Mid-term benchmarks: 6 months – 2years

·        Create website.

·        Reach 5,000 social media followers.

·        Begin marketing photos.

·        Enter online landscape photography competitions.

·        Begin submitting photos to newspapers and magazines.

 Long-term benchmarks: 2 years – 5+ years

·        Sell art-quality photos via the website.

·        Provide high-quality landscape photography to media outlets.

·        Win competitions to position me as an expert landscape photographer.

·        Teach workshops to help others reach their photography goals.

This has been an excerpt from the Everyday Vacay e-series. Stay tuned next month for Healthy Habits -- Seeds of Success. 

Check out the entire video series here.

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Featured photo (top of page) by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash