Everyone’s definition of happiness and success is different and unique. When you consider that these two qualities are actually the product of the positive behaviors you choose to engage in, you’ll begin to realize the importance of goal setting.

It seems we all have a yearning to be better in life; to accomplish more and achieve better outcomes, whether that be in our personal or professional lives. How those accomplishments look and feel is unique to each person’s particular vision of their ideal lifestyle. Happiness and success, then, is the result of turning strong convictions about how you want to live into a tangible reality.

It is the beaming smile on your face after having set a new personal best in your 2-mile run. It is the vindication that veering away from dessert for the last three weeks helped the number on your scale plummet. It is the fulfillment you gain from going on vacation knowing just how difficult it was to save all of the money it took to afford it.

By deciding to install new, positive habits into your routine to change your life for the better, you must commit to setting a series of measurable goals for yourself to create the opportunity for success and increased happiness.

Of course, success and happiness are relative terms. How will you know you are on the right track to feeling better about your lifestyle? The process of goal setting involves you first defining what success and happiness is to you. This is the truly fun part.

When you were a kid, you were probably encouraged to dream big about your future. Teachers and parents would ask what you want to be when you grow up. The fun part about goal setting is that it is age independent. It doesn’t matter how old you are. As long as you are willing to focus on working towards a series of attainable and measurable goals, you can achieve a greater standard of living you only dreamed to be possible.

Your future vision should be clear, realistic and sensory. Can you picture what the life of a fitter, trimmer, healthier, more confident you would look like? Take time to think about how your experience would change if you were healthier and happier.

Can you see yourself cooking meals six nights a week, with portions of fresh green vegetables and colorful fruits? Can you hear the steady, composed sound of yourself breathing in and out as you finish a series of ab crunches? Can you feel the calm and clarity of the daily tasks you’re used to completing at work coming along much smoother and easier because you feel so full of energy?

Imagine what success and happiness looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels like. Identify, first, what a sensational life would ideally be for you, then you can create a series of small actions that will lead you to that outcome. Goals, then, become a road map for your personal success and you are the cartographer.

Like the great explorers of the past, you will be sailing into uncharted territory if your goals are mapped out properly. You must be pushed beyond your limits in order for your goals to have the desired effects. It takes courage to follow through on your vision for a better lifestyle, along with the faith that your vision is reasonable and attainable.

Consider the uncertainty history’s greatest explorers had when traversing the world by sea hundreds of years ago in search for new lands and a greater perspective. How much uncertainty did Ferdinand Magellan face before setting out on his trip around the world? Or how about Lewis and Clark on their expedition to chart what is now the western part of the United States? They had a goal in mind, made a plan and took a leap of faith to achieve success.

Luckily, there are more resources and tools now than ever to create the type of reasonable, actionable goals that lead to success. Health and fitness experts are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about the best methods to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle than before, to help inform you in your goal setting. Mobile apps, like Caterpilly, provide encouragement, feedback and accountability as you embark on the journey to a better you.

Goal setting only works if you have the willingness and motivation to better yourself. You will slowly reach milestones as you map the path to your personal success and happiness, one inroad at a time. You simply must be willing to take that leap of faith into uncharted territory.

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