“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” -Aristotle
Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and bestselling author of “ Authentic Happiness,” says lasting happiness is not the result of good genes, good luck or economics. Rather, happiness comes from developing personal strengths, not weaknesses, and then working within those strengths to improve each aspect of your life. Follow this 5-step checklist to help you discover and develop your strengths, plan your personal development, and cut a path to achieving all your goals in 2015.
STEP 1: Discover Your Strengths
- Click here to take Dr. Seligman’s “Authentic Happiness Inventory” questionnaire at the University of Pennsylvania’s website (about 25 minutes).
- Identify your five highest scoring strengths.
STEP 2: Plan Your Goals
- For goal setting to be effective you should set S.M.A.R.T. goals, which stands for:Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-framed. Click here to download Stanford University’s goal planning template and print one copy for each goal.
- Make sure your goals focus on the strengths you’ve just identified.
STEP 3: Plan Your Timeline
- Set completion dates for your goals and be realistic about your timelines, especially if you already have a full schedule.
- Set review times to make sure you’re on schedule with completion dates. Take a few minutes once per week to identify if you undershot, achieved or surpassed your timeline for that week.
STEP 4: Identify Support
- Identify books and educational materials that can help you improve on your strengths.
- Identify people who can help keep you accountable for the goals you’ve chosen. Consider starting a mastermind group with friends or business contacts.
STEP 5: Put Your Strengths to Work
- Find ways to incorporate your strengths into your day-to-day life; note those times when you are prevented from success by your weaknesses.
- Keep a very short daily journal entry of your progress. Consider a secure online journal like Penzu, which sends an email to remind you to make an entry. Simply click reply and type your entry via email.
As you practice focusing on your strengths, your goals will naturally become easier to achieve over time. Here’s to a healthier and happier you in 2015!
Sources: University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Personal Development Toolbox, Platinum Plus, YOU Magazine