Change Starts Here: Create Your Happiness Action Plan

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Change Starts Here is a six-month journey of personal and professional development, designed with the goal of making YOU happier at work. We’ve partnered with Nic Marks [creator of the Happy Planet Index] and the team at Happiness Works to provide exclusive access to the Happiness at Work Survey, which we’ll use to design an individual, trackable, and achievable path to greater happiness at work. You can start the journey right here

By now you’ve had a chance to take the Happiness at Work Survey [in case you haven’t, you can do so right here!] and review your results. Were you surprised by your score, or was it pretty close to what you expected?

Even if you’re a generally happy person, already following your passion and purpose, we’re willing to bet that you’ve discovered a few areas in which you could be happier. Through this exercise, we’re going to focus in on a few areas that you’d like to improve, define some initial goals, and start building an action plan to achieve them. So let’s get to it!

2014-08-05_13-13-53Before we begin

Scan through your results again. If you read through the roadmap included with your downloadable report, you’ve possibly already started this process. Take note of what surprised you [and what didn’t] within each color grouping. Do you find yourself nodding your head at some of the yellows and reds, or smiling at specific greens? Great! Make a mental note of those, we’ll be coming back to them. [If you haven’t done so yet, now is also the time to go grab yourself a copy of the worksheet we’ll be using for this exercise. You can download the pdf here.] Let's narrow it down. Start by asking yourself these three questions:

  • Which one(s) feel the most easily achievable?
  • Which one(s) feel the most important?
  • Which one(s) do you have the most interest in or energy for?

Now it’s time to make a choice! There’s no right or wrong here. Anywhere you focus, any change you make, will be a step toward sustainable happiness. Choose the categories that resonate the most and don’t be afraid to change your choices as you move through this exercise! Assign each area of improvement to a box on your worksheet, and let’s get started!

1-01Set your goals

For each area of improvement you selected, consider what realistic goals  would help you be happier. In my example, for someone seeking greater creative expression within their role, I made it a goal to get involved with the company blog or newsletter. This is an achievable goal for someone who knows they’d have access to that type of outlet in their workplace. Don’t be afraid to get creative in coming up with goals that are challenging enough to truly push the needle on your happiness at work, but still achievable within your current resources. As you select a goal for each area of improvement, add it to your worksheet. Stay away from goals that are super vague… The more action-oriented your goal is, the more motivated you’ll be to tackle it.

2-01Create your action plan

We can't get much done with goals alone. We need to break the goals down into their discrete steps. If your goal is to write for the company blog, your first step probably isn’t to sit down and write a post. In order to achieve your goal, you probably need to do things like:

  • Talk to your manager about your schedule and bandwidth
  • Assemble some writing samples to present as proof of your ability
  • Brainstorm some topics to present as potential blog posts
  • Start a conversation with the individual who manages the blog in your organization
  • Write a draft post for review

Take some time to come up with a list like this for each of your goals.

3-01Define your timeline

The first hurdle to achieving any goal or action item you set will be your own personal inertia. Deadlines help. Now that you’ve identified three workable goals, and an action plan for achieving each of them, assign yourself a deadline that seems workable [and hold yourself accountable].

Give yourself permission to pencil these in!

Get Started

There’s no time like the present, so get started on your goals as soon as you’re able. The more you let inertia build up, the harder it is to get moving again. Allow yourself to adjust your timeline, action plan, or even your goals to set yourself up for success. It’s important to challenge yourself, but don’t forget that the endzone you’re striving toward is happiness.

We'd love to chat about any questions you might have! Drop us a line:!

About the Author

Lindsay Brunner


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