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2020 Goals – What If Your Primary Job Is to Be Happy?

I always want to do things right and hate making mistakes. When I say or do things I wish I hadn’t done, I relive those scenarios way more than I care to admit, also known as obsessing. But maybe life isn’t about doing everything right. What if our primary job in life is to be happy?

I’m not making a list of 2020 personal goals, although I don’t think doing so is bad. Lots of people will set 2020 goals. If setting specific goals works for you, do it. Just don’t set yourself up to fail. You’re not likely to lose 30 pounds, save 20% of your income, start a not-for-profit, visit five new countries, and become a fantastic cook in one year. Maybe dial those 2020 goals back and pick two of them, but only if you enjoy working towards those goals.

Perhaps life isn’t about getting more done. Perhaps life is really about enjoying more.

If you want to set 2020 goals, I wouldn’t be opposed if they are:

  1. Have a job you love.
  2. Spend time with people who make you feel good.
  3. Speak your truth (nicely).

2020 Goal: Have a job you love. You don’t need to keep a job that doesn’t allow you to do work you enjoy and are good at. There are lots of jobs out there. Go get one you like.

2020 Goal: Spend time with people who make you feel good. Stop spending time with people you don’t like or who you don’t feel better after leaving their presence. Your discretionary time is limited. “I should maintain this friendship because we’ve known each other for so long.” Or, “I should spend time with family members I don’t enjoy because it’s the right thing to do” is diminishing your happiness. Text those people occasionally and spend your time elsewhere.

2020 Goal: Speak your truth (nicely). People are more likely to quit a job and a relationship than to say what isn’t working and to ask for what they want. Fear less; speak more. When you speak from a desire to make things better and to strengthen relationships, there is little you can’t say, so start talking.

I won’t tell you not to save money, travel more, or become a gourmet cook. But what if your job in 2020 isn’t to do more? What if your primary job is to be happy? What would your 2020 goals be then?


Shari Harley is the founder and President of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training firm that is bringing candor back to the workplace, making it easier to give feedback at work. Shari is the author of the business communication book How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships that Really Work. She is a keynote speaker at conferences and does training throughout the U.S. Learn more about Shari Harley and Candid Culture’s training programs at

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3 Responses to “2020 Goals – What If Your Primary Job Is to Be Happy?”

  1. Karen L. says:

    This week’s blog…
    Oh, I have lots of should have, could have would have. I would love to become a gourmet cook, visit 10 more countries and I am working on the 40 pounds I need to lose. But be happy? That’s a tall order. When in my last years of college I had a long distance relationship with my boyfriend, everytime I would talk to him he would tell me , sometimes it is just , survive. I seem to be okay at that. Happy? That one I will have to work on.

  2. A. Reader says:

    Karen, I agree that “be happy” is a difficult goal. I think Shari should do an article on behavior vs outcome. For example, you might not have much control on the outcome of “be happy,” but you can control your behaviors such limiting or expanding time with different people which Shari touches on here. One example behavior that worked really well for me was to make myself aware every time I insulted myself to work on self-compassion. I also once checked in on myself at different times a day for a week to see what I was thinking and learn that I wasn’t really stressed ALL of the time. Thanks for the article Shari! I loved your book and enjoy your articles. I’ve recommended your resources multiple times.

    • Shari Harley says:

      Karen and Felicia, Thanks so much for your comment! Think of it as an approach to life, a philosophy. People so often think that a successful life is getting things done, meeting goals, and having a list of accomplishments. But what if the things we get done isn’t the purpose of life? What if the purpose of life is simply to be happy? I’m not saying it is. It’s just a different approach that may lead us to make different choices or evaluate our choices differently. What do you think?

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