Planning for Happiness: The Happiness Project

This weekend I returned to  a post on ABAJournal.com entitled, “For Happy Life, Do What You Want to Do; Lawyer Explains How.” It caught my attention because during the course of my career I’ve run into a lot of unhappy attorneys. As the post notes about attaining happiness, “It isn’t easy to do so, though, especially when money and prestige pull you in one direction and your own interests take you in another.” As students in my class know, I put a high premium on setting goals, making plans and maintaining key principles, such as those advocated by Gretchen Rubin in her book The Happiness Project and her Happiness Project Blog.

The process of setting goals, making plans, managing time and workload, seem themselves like a lot of work. As noted by Rubin, it can also be scary at times, “It’s painful to acknowledge a dream, because as soon as you acknowledge it, you also acknowledge that you might fail.” After one goal setting and planning exercise in my professionalism course, a student noted that acknowledging her goal for three years down the road and starting to plan for it, felt like a commitment and realizing what she had yet to do to achieve that goal was somewhat overwhelming.

Yet, I think that if you being a professional paralegal is what you want to do, implementing the techniques of professionalism will lead not only to professionalism but happiness. Much happiness comes from achieving goals and you are much more likely to achieve goals if they are clearly identified and there is a plan for reaching the goal. If you want to get to NYC, you are far more likely to get there is you set a date and map out a route than if you just wander aimlessly in the general direction of NYC.

Goal setting and planning when combined with time, calendar and workload management have another benefit. You can plan for, and free up time for, the other “good things” in life, whatever those things are for you – time with your family, time away from your family, blogging or just no pressure knitting. In any case, take a few minutes to check out Rubin’s blog and The Happiness Project Toolbox.

That’s all for me today. I’m heading out to work in the garden and go to an Ole Miss soccer game. Hope to see you there or wherever you want to be doing what you want to do!

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