Monday Motivation

5 Elements of Goals to Make You Come Alive –

and the goals stick!


Positive psychology “pioneer,” Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania shares how to develop five different elements of wellbeing from positive emotions to a sense of meaning. The more elements a person experiences while pursuing his/her goal, the more likely he/she is to be consistent with it long term (regardless of the goal itself).

  • Positive Emotions

Positive emotions can help turn threat-related thoughts (‘There’s no way I can do this’) into optimistic thoughts (‘I have the resources to do this’).

— Christian Waugh, Wake Forest University

  • Engagement

Engagement is a state of flow. When a person is completely absorbed in an experience and time appears to stand still or pass by in a flash. Flow improves a person’s performance by helping his/her ability to focus on the task at hand for an extended period.

When the activity is difficult and takes a long time to achieve the goal, it helps to experience flow.

— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow

  • Relationships

There is a good deal of research that social support (the tangible, informational, or emotional help) we receive from others is an integral part of reaching one’s goals.

— Shelly Gable, U.C. Santa Barbara

  • Meaning

Meaning is to belong, and serve, to something that you believe is bigger than the self.  Reflect on whether your goal serves a larger purpose.

Research in psychology shows that meaning is a strong motivating factor.

— Evgeny Osin, Russia’s National Research University, Higher School of Economics

  • Accomplishment

When you think about why you are pursuing a goal, is your first thought of an intrinsic reward (for the self) or an extrinsic reward (for others or an outside entity)?

People who have intrinsic motivation, who pursue a goal for its own sake, tend to exhibit more perseverance and resilience

— Patty O’Grady, University of Tampa

People are most likely to be effective when they pursue goals that either engage their natural interests or express their authentic personal values.

— Kennon Sheldon, University of Missouri


Additional Resource

January 2018 Happiness Calendar



Benner, C. (2017). How to choose goals that make you come alive. Greater good magazine: Science-based insights for a meaningful life. doi: Accessed on January 6, 2017.



About rrluthi

Certified fitness expert with a passion for educating and empowering people of all ages (young "kiddos" to the active aging "baby boomers") about the benefits of adopting and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle, preventing injury, and feeling good. Proven strengths applying cutting-edge fitness/wellness concepts and research through roles as a health coach, fitness trainer, group exercise instructor, and rehabilitation aide—in addition to promoting these concepts in a more systematic way through blogging and social media, community outreach, and corporate wellness program facilitation.
This entry was posted in Attitude, Goal Setting, Happiness, Inspiration, Motivation, Positive Thinking, Self-Love and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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