I was thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions. I wondered if the real message behind New Year’s Resolutions is that if I reach them I will be happier with my life.
And, of course when I don’t reach my goals there is no satisfaction in failure. Having no goals certainly takes care of that.
Now, I don’t believe that happiness should be measured by satisfaction or success or failure. I don’t believe that happiness as a life-long state of being is attainable. My happiness comes in fits and starts, bits and pieces, tiny moments.
I, also, don’t believe that a constant state of happiness is actually desirable. Why? Because happiness breeds status quo. When human’s are happy there is no impetus for personal growth, change or bettering the world. Now I certainly am not for despair or misery. But dissatisfaction is not a bad thing.
So! How happy are you? This quick test will help you keep score. The Satisfaction with Life Scale was devised in 1980 by University of Illinois psychologist Edward Diener, a founding father of happiness research. Since then the scale has been used by researchers around the world.
Read the following five statements. Then use a 1-to-7 scale to rate your level of agreement.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1=Not at all true 4=Moderately true 7=Absolutely true
_____1 In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
_____2 The conditions of my life are excellent.
_____3 I am satisfied with my life.
_____4 So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
_____5 If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.
- 31 to 35: you are extremely satisfied with your life
- 26 to 30: very satisfied
- 21 to 25: slightly satisfied
- 20 is the neutral point
- 15 to 19: slightly dissatisfied
- 10 to 14: dissatisfied
- 5 to 9: extremely dissatisfied
- I took a minute to think about my overall score.
- Then I identified areas of my life that were at or above the neutral point
- Then I identified areas of my life that were at or below the neutral point.
- In areas of my life that are above the neutral point, how motivated am I to risk changing them and grow?
- In the areas of my life that are below the neutral point, how stuck am I or reluctant to change and grow?
I think my answers – which I ain’t going to tell you – were verrrrrrrrrry interesting. All I’ll say is I need to be less happy and more dissatisfied in all the areas of my New Year’s Resolutions!