How to Pursue Meaningful Goals – and Find Joy Along the Way

If you’re like most, you are likely working towards multiple goals today. Are you working on getting a promotion, a fitness goal, starting your family, retirement? Pursuing goals, wishes, and dreams is generally considered a good thing: it keeps you excited and engaged with your day-to-day life and allows you to measure your progress over time.

Problems can arise after we accomplish goals, however, as once we complete them we so often feel let down. We often find we weren’t only pursuing the end result; we also found value in the process of improving and moving forward. “Success is a journey, not a destination,” tennis star Arthur Ashe famously said. “The doing is often more important than the outcome.”

In The Atlantic earlier this year, Arthur C. Brooks wrote about how achieving a goal and achieving happiness are two completely different things. He discusses the science behind what happens after achieving a goal, when forward motion stopping can lead to feelings of emptiness. According to Brooks, it likely has to do with dopamine, the hormone and neurotransmitter that provides a sense of pleasure in anticipation of a reward. “Dopamine is elevated before you achieve a goal and depleted afterward,” he writes. “This leads to what you might call ‘anti-anticipation.’”

As advisors who embrace financial life planning, we believe that meaningful achievement comes from pursuing goals that create happiness and allow you to live out your values along the way. After all, the life goals you are working toward can take years to achieve or can look different down the road. Our approach means we are checking in with you to help ensure that the goals we set one, three, or five years ago are still in line with your values and aspirations today.

Whatever your goals are, and no matter where you are in your journey, your JNBA Advisory Team wants to ensure that you are pursuing your goals because they inspire you, both in the end and along the way. As your financial advocate – we are here to help you determine exactly where you want to be, understand why, and make a plan to get there – enjoying yourself along the way. Please do not ever hesitate to reach out to your JNBA Advisory Team if you would like to explore this topic further.


Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from JNBA Financial Advisors, LLC.

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