By Carla Lisio, LCSW
Executive Vice President, Behavioral Services
Have you read the Happiness Project yet? (The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin) I have – some might say I am now obsessed with it – and I can tell you, it has made me very thoughtful about happiness. Thinking about happiness can be a real happiness-killer. Maybe – but I think it has put me in touch with an important truth for me.
I love the Big Goal.
I am training for my first marathon. I always said I would never run a marathon, because I could not imagine devoting that kind of time, energy, will power and pain, to training. And then I registered for a marathon – impulsively. Believe it or not – registration was “on sale” and I thought “Yes – it’s a sign!”
And so, for the past 15 weeks, I have been following a marathon training schedule. Wow, was I wrong about training. Week after week, day after day, I set out to run the miles my schedule recommends. Almost every run feels elevated in importance – I am not just running, I am TRAINING – for a MARATHON! Once the long runs got to be farther than any distance I had ever completed before, I began to feel like every week was a new big goal and every week brought a new big accomplishment. When was the last time I had a big accomplishment – EVERY WEEK?
I was so HAPPY! I love that feeling. It stays with me. I may be driving to work and suddenly think – “I ran 20 miles this weekend!” You know that feeling inside – excited and proud, like your lungs are filled all the way up – it feels like that.
On Rubin’s The Happiness Project site, www.happiness-project.com, Gretchen asks you to find what brings you “joy, satisfaction and engagement and also what brings you guilt, anger, boredom and remorse”. If the Big Goal brings you any of the positive things and defies the negative, then a Big Goal may be part of your happiness project too. As a runner, you don’t need a marathon to have a big goal. A big goal can be – your first road race, your first road race in years, your fastest time in a race, your farthest distance, etc. Challenge yourself – see how it feels.