End Goals Lead to a Meaningful Journey

I came across a BIG idea recently. In the book “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind,” Vishen Lakhiani talks about the difference between means goals and end goals.

Means goals vs End goals

A means goal is motivated by the thought that it will lead to something else in the end. It is the means to how you get something else. A means goal can be one of many possible paths to reach an end goal. For example, a means goal might be saving money so that you can go to college. In the video below, Vishen uses the example of pursuing a college degree. If the motivation is the benefits once it is completed, it is a means goal. If the motivation is that you love education and want to learn, it is a end goal.

End goals speak to our hearts, and are more meaningful. (a little ironically) When we pursue a means goal, we believe “If only I had this [fill in the blank] I would be happy.” With means goals we are seeking future benefits, sometimes to the detriment of present happiness, and based on guesswork about what will make us happy that can often be wrong. With end goals we directly experience happiness as we pursue something that we love. Setting end goals leads to a journey that makes you happy.

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.” -Alfred D Sousa

“The point is not the end of the journey…Remember to sing and dance along the way.” –Alan Watts

Set End Goals

To set end goals, consider The Three Most Important Questions from Vishen Lakhiani.

  1. Identify how you want to contribute.
  2. Think of experiences you want that will lead to positive emotions.
  3. Decide how you will grow to create these experiences and make these contributions.

Setting End Goals is a huge shift! Suddenly, goals are about what you CREATE, not about what you HAVE! End goals still need to be attainable, but making this shift is empowering and you have a lot more fun on the journey. You can’t buy happiness, but you can create it when you follow the BE MEASURING practices and set meaningful end goals.

Vishen Lakhiani on the difference between means goals and end goals…

When you know how you want to contribute, you know the right direction to go. There may be many possible paths to take, different means goals to achieve the end goals. The biggest obstacle to a meaningful journey is not knowing how you want to contribute. Discover how to Uncover Hidden Talents and create a value statement that pinpoints what you do and why.

In the following video, “Why Happiness is the New Productivity,” Vishen talks about the Four Different States of Mind. He calls these: 1. The Negative Spiral, 2. The Current Reality Trap, 3. Stress & Anxiety, and 4. Bending Reality. To Bend Reality, combine happiness in the present with a vision for the future to find flow. Make shift happen by creating something now while moving forward, compelled by a vision for the future.


Smart Skills Trading Cards

GREAT Skills are smart! This set of Trading Cards is about Positive Psychology.


Set One includes four cards:

  • Martin Seligman – Pillars of Wellbeing
  • Mihaly Csikszentmikalyi – Flow
  • Carol Dweck – Mindset
  • Tal BenShahar – Happiness

Links to TED Talks and videos are at the Daily PlanIt Youtube playlist on happiness. Collect the cards as you learn about each skill, developing strengths to close the skills gap and open doors to opportunity. Download the Smart Skills Trading Cards at Slideshare.



Benefits of 11 Happiness Habits in Infographics

See the benefits of the BE MEASURING happiness habits. Just click on each of the images below to see the full infographic.

Breathe Deeply




MeditationBenefitsEmotional Awareness










In Flow






All the infographics in a slideshow at Slideshare:

See these infographics and more on my Pinterest Happiness Habits board.

See also Apps for Happiness and Personal Development


I made myself a visual reminder for the BE MEASURING happiness habits:
BeMeasuringPhotosHappiness Habits:

  • Breathe Deeply
  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Emotionally Aware
  • Aspire
  • Share
  • Uplift
  • Relate
  • In Flow
  • Notice
  • Gratitude

I printed these photos, cut them out and glued them to tags. I’d like to clip them to a yardstick, but haven’t found one!

Here is a free download of the BE MEASURING happiness habits reminders (pdf)

Happy New Year!

Thinking about this reminds me that in happiness and life, to everything there is a season.

There is a time for doing and a time for being,

A time for thinking and a time for feeling,

A time for working and a time for playing,

A time for introspection and a time for connection,

A time for planning and a time for action,

A time for hanging in and a time for letting go.

Awareness is key to knowing when it is time to shift.

Read more about Apps for Happiness and Personal Development and Happiness Based on Science and Positive Psychology.

Apps for Happiness and Personal Development

BE MEASURING for more Happiness and Personal Development

When I first wrote the Year of Personal Development series my focus was on free printable tools, but now many apps have been created that could be helpful tools to add happiness habits (and personal development) to your routine. I’ve been seeing a lot about the Happify app, which uses a S.T.A.G.E. framework to build five key happiness skills. However, it is currently only available in iOS, and there is a subscription price. I’m an Android gal and I’m all about free tools whenever possible!

Various frameworks for happiness are outlined at Happiness Based on Science and Positive Psychology. I arranged them in my own way and came up with a framework that happens to spell out BE MEASURING. Ironically, I’m not sure we actually really need to be measuring all of this. Systems that are simple and easy to use are usually best, and often a printable paper option will fill the bill. While it is important to measure what you want to manage, tracking a whole bunch of things can become tedious. However, if you enjoy using apps, many are gathered here that may be useful. As I’ve thought about ways to add more of these key skills into my life, I realized: 1) a simple checklist is probably pretty effective, 2) many of the keys to happiness are activities for personal development, and 3) it would sure be nice to have all of this incorporated into one Android app.

Habit Trackers:I am trying out the Fig app as a wellness habit tracker. It is similar to Lift, but personally I like it better. While designed for social sharing, you can choose not to. Two drawbacks are: it isn’t compatible with my tablet, and it’s not reminding me that much. It is possible that I’m still learning about it. GoalTracker could be another one to try.


The Fig habit tracker app

A simple checklist for the BE MEASURING framework from the Daily PlanIt:


A printable pdf of BE MEASURING (letter size)



Breathe Deeply (& sleep well)Breathing deeply is a habit with many benefits. It was one of the most helpful things I did during a Year of Personal Development. It is helpful to remember to stretch and take several deep breaths about once every hour. (time: about 5 minutes)

  • Apps: Breath2Relax includes a demonstration, stress rating, and cycles for deep breathing. There is also a very simple instructional app to learn how to breath deeply called the Tactical Breather App. These are from T2health, which makes apps for military veterans. They also have a mood tracker (see below) and some others I’d like to try out like the Virtual Hope Box and Mindfulness Coach. GPS for the Soul is an app from the Huffington Post that is now available on Android as well as iOS. The Living Well app is designed for men who have been sexually abused in childhood, which includes breathing and mindfulness meditations. I am trying To Do Reminder to set reminders. If you have problems with sleeping, White Noise Lite looks good.

Exercise (& eat a healthy diet)-Just a few minutes of exercise a day can release endorphins, but you can gain additional benefits with a longer workout. If you can spend some time outside, that is a mood booster too. See the benefits of exercise infographic from Happify. (time: about 30 minutes)

  • Apps: Myfitnesspal is wonderful for tracking your diet and exercise, but I got tired of entering my info every day. The JEFIT app provides visual examples of weight lifting exercises, and can track your progress. I’m struggling a bit to set up the workout I want, and I don’t really care about tracking this separately.
  • Food Planner is the best app I have found for managing recipes and menu planning. It just takes a bit more time and effort than I want to put into it. If I need inspiration, I usually just flip through index cards with a picture of the main dishes we mostly have.

Meditate (& relax)-There are many benefits to meditation. (time: about 15 minutes)

  • Apps: Take a Break from Stress with the app from Meditation Oasis. Choose between a 7 minute break and a longer 13 minute option. I sometimes use this app during my noon break. Relax Melodies is great (and fun!) for creating a variety of gentle sounds.

Emotional awareness-Empathize with others, and notice your own emotions.

Aspire-Know your purpose and direction, and take action toward meaningful goals. (time: at least 5 minutes a day)

  • Apps: I haven’t found an app for goal setting that I love. In my system, I include steps toward projects in my to-do lists and keep lists of goals and projects in Google Drive. Chaos Control is a GTD Task List that includes defining your goals, which I have not tried out yet. Reach Your Goals may be another one to try. Some possibilities use a stick rather than a carrot as incentive.

Share-Give to causes you believe in by volunteering or financially. Perform random acts of kindness. (time: about 2 minutes)

  • Apps: In Android, there is Pay It Forward and DoGood, both look very tied in to social sharing and I haven’t tried them out yet.

Uplift-yourself with positive music and thoughts, and others with compliments and kind words. Benefits of music infographic.

Relate-Spend time with people you care about, do nice things for them, interact with others.

Increase FlowUse the talents that cause you to lose track of time.

Notice-Look up, be aware and mindful, pay attention, smell the roses, enjoy tastes, savor and appreciate life, etc. Plan activities and anticipate them, remember good times. Benefits of mindfulness and appreciation. How to: 10 Steps to Savoring at Greater Good.

Gratitude-start the day with appreciation, and end it by thinking of a few things you’re thankful for. In between, thank those you are grateful for. (time: a few minutes) Here are the benefits of Gratitude.

Time to cultivate these happy habits

Happiness Habits Add Up =An hour a day
Uplifting: music, thoughts & words Anytime
An act of kindness About 2 minutes
Gratitude About 3 minutes
Breathe deeply About 5 minutes
Take an action toward a goal At least 5 minutes (or more)
Meditation About 15 minutes
Exercise About 30 minutes

(with thanks to http://mytherapypage.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/5-happy-habits-an-hour-a-day/)

See also Benefits of 11 Happiness Habits in Infographics

Links to more apps:

Have you tried apps for happiness and personal development that you like? Let us know at the Daily PlanIt Facebook page!

See also Benefits of 11 Happiness Habits in Infographics.

Happiness Based on Science and Positive Psychology

Can we increase our happiness quotient? See the Benefits of 11 Happiness Habits in Infographics. Research in the science of Positive Psychology has identified factors that influence our happiness.  Sonja Lyubomirsky, a leader in the field of Positive Psychology describes some of her discoveries in the following video.

Martin Seligman pioneered Positive Psychology, and is the author of “Authentic Happiness” and other books. Authentic Happiness at the University of Pennsylvania uses the PERMA framework:

  • Positive Emotions
  • Engagement (Flow, using your talents)
  • Positive Relationships
  • Meaning (being involved in a cause you believe in)
  • Accomplishment

The Happify app uses a S.T.A.G.E. framework to build five key happiness skills. However, it is currently only available in iOS, and there is a subscription price. I’m an Android gal and look for free tools whenever possible!

10 Keys to Happier Living at Action for Happiness:

  1. Giving
  2. Relating
  3. Exercising
  4. Appreciating
  5. Trying out
  6. Direction
  7. Resilience
  8. Emotion
  9. Acceptance
  10. Meaning

Daily PlanIt Resources

Taking actions in these areas more often will increase happiness. See also Apps for Happiness and Personal Development.

Learn from Happiness Experts:

Learn more with a free online course available at Edx called The Science of Happiness from Berkley’s Greater Good Science Center. There are also many practices at the Greater Good in Action.

Magazines & News: