A lifetime of personal and professional goal setting has taught me that it is critically important to properly define success before setting goals or making resolutions.

    By not first properly defining success, I find that I end up with goals that are either unachievable or with goals that don’t guide me towards my highest and greatest aspirations.

    While considering my 2016 resolutions, I was pleased to find that a 75-year long study on adult development provided a definitive answer to the one thing that defines health and happiness – success – for all adults.

    The good news for me was that this one thing could easily be incorporated into annual goals and resolutions, making it possible for me to achieve and even surpass my most challenging personal and professional goals.

    Want to know what it is?

    Robert Waldinger, the fourth director of the Harvard Study on Adult Development, reported in a November 2015 Ted Talk that the clearest message we get from Harvard’s study, is this:

    Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.

    The Harvard Study offers data and stories that show that good relationships are a key to success. So as you work on your resolutions and goals in 2016, first consider how you’ll define success. Can you have a happier and healthier (and more successful!) year if you define success as honoring personal and professional relationships and developing new relationships?

    Knowing that a good life is built on good relationships, how will you choose to define success in 2016?


    Watch Robert Waldinger’s Ted Talk ‘What makes a good life. Lessons from the longest study on happiness’

    Posted by Mike Bussey on Jan. 27, 2016
    Mike Bussey

    Written by Mike Bussey

    Mike Bussey provides a comprehensive portfolio in fundraising and strategic management for YMCAs, churches and other faith-based organizations. Prior to joining the Donor By Design team, Mike served for eight years as YMCA of the USAs Financial Development consultant to 350 YMCAs in 14 Midwest states, as well as to the Jerusalem International YMCA.

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