Why Is It That You Are Not Happy Even After Achieving A Goal?

Sometimes we have these big goals, and we work really, really hard towards reaching them. And after finally reaching that goal, we first feel very excited.

Unfortunately, oftentimes that feeling is fleeting and that excitement goes away very quickly. Have you had this experience before?

One of my friends was working really hard towards a promotion and she sacrificed a lot in the process, working very long hours.

And after over a year of hard work, she finally did it — she finally got the promotion! At first she was extremely excited. But a few days later, she was actually very surprised that the feeling of excitement didn’t last. It just sort of dissipated.

We Wait Too Long To Celebrate

And this is what sometimes happens to us. We work really hard towards something only to find that the happiness that we feel at the end is temporary. So why is that?

I like to use the analogy of working with a dog. If you tell a dog to sit and then a week later, you give the dog a very nice bone, the dog is not going to associate sitting with the bone. He doesn’t realize that he is receiving this reward, this bone, because he was sitting.

And we as human beings are actually not that different. We have been conditioned to feel that pleasure or pain immediately follows behavior.

So even though we know intellectually that we have worked hard towards something for years or months, we only feel that the last step that we took is associated with reaching the actual goal. Therefore, the happiness that we feel, is only connected to that last step that we took.

We don’t viscerally feel that the goal we reached is connected to all these months and years of work. So what can we do?

We can actually make sure that on an ongoing basis — daily, weekly — we acknowledge ourselves for the work that we are doing towards reaching the goal. And really enjoy that process, making it as pleasurable as possible.

What steps did you take this week towards a goal?

How do you want to acknowledge yourself, so you can increase your happiness as you are making progress?

Originally published at https://www.pauercoaching.com on August 4, 2020.

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