Are your hard goals aligned with your soft goals? A hard goal is a desire for a promotion, a new car or house, a new relationship. A soft goal is how you expect (hope?) to feel as a result of achieving your hard goal. Affective forecasting is the attempt to look into the future and predict our emotions under various scenarios i.e. will achieving our hard goals get us our soft goals too? Surprisingly, most of us are not very good at forecasting our feelings; we tend to be lousy judges of what truly makes us happy. We flunk self-awareness 101; we unthinkingly accept cultural norms, ditto the priorities of our peers as well as marketing propaganda without taking the time to figure out whether they represent OUR unique values and tastes.

When you do your regular goal setting exercises, setting energizing targets that motivate you for each of your six major roles, be sure to take the time to write down the emotions you anticipate feeling AND their expected duration and intensity. A quiet lasting sense of satisfaction? A brief but intense surge of pleasure? Enduring contentment? Glow of happiness that slowly fades? And if instead you get a sense of ennui, even disappointment, then you’ve a wonderful opportunity to dig deep and refine your affective forecasting skills which will in turn ensure that your goals are in line with your truest self.

Closing Quotes:

“The moment of victory is too fleeting to live for that alone.” – Martina Navratilova 

“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacation with better care than they do their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.” – Jim Rohn

“The world i am desperately trying to understand is the one in which men think they want one thing and then, upon getting it, find out to their dismay that they didn’t really want it as much as they thought or didn’t want it all and that something else is what they want.” – Albert Otto Hirschman, “Shifting Involvements,” 1915 – 2012, economist

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier