Having something to look forward to is powerful.
It raises your emotional set point and gives you more joy in your life, career and business.
As you might know, we have an English Bulldog boy named Winston. Winston recently had his first birthday and so we put together a birthday party for him to celebrate. It was so much fun! We invited all of the other dogs in our street and bulldogs that we know through our doggie communities, and their parents, of course. We had a little doggy cake for the pups, some morning tea for the parents and we had a dog sitter come along to look after all the dogs so we could spend some time chatting.
Some people might think this over the top. But in fact, everyone that we invited came. We received loads of lovely messages both before the event, saying how much people were looking forward to it and after, expressing their thanks and enjoyment for the day. In the lead-up, we were receiving text messages and phone calls, and people were excited to have a reason to get together and celebrate.
Because things like this matter.
Having something to look forward to matters.
The Power of Having Something To Look Forward To
Dr Melissa Weinberg from Deakin University’s School of Psychology is a happiness expert. Her body of work focuses on our ‘happiness set-point’.
What is Happiness Set-Point?
The idea of a happiness set-point comes from the psychological theory of subjective wellbeing homeostasis. This theory says that our mood is generally regulated around an optimal level which is referred to as a set-point. This is our default or normal level of happiness – and the state where we function most efficiently. For most of us, this is at about 80% happiness.
Being at 100% happiness all the time isn’t great for us. Imagine being a child on Christmas Eve. You’re so excited and have so much anticipation that it’s hard to sleep, it’s hard to focus, and it’s hard to do anything else.
But being below 80% isn’t great for us either.
Chronic sadness and depression can lead to weight gain, heart disease, chronic pain, inflammation and autoimmune diseases along with insomnia, trouble making decisions, memory loss and fatigue. Whenever something happens that throws a spanner into our happiness, we then begin to utilise certain psychological processes to get our happiness set-point back up to 80%. And one of the most powerful of those is having something to look forward to.
How it Works
Having something to look forward to doesn’t just raise your happiness set-point, though it does do that as well. It also stretches out your set-point range, meaning that you stay happier for longer. This is because of the anticipation.
If you were to eat a chocolate bar, you would have happiness during, and perhaps right after eating that bar. But it would pass quickly. On the other hand, Winston’s party gave people the opportunity to enjoy a raised happiness level from the time they got the invite, through the text message and email acceptances and exchanges, up to and including the party itself.
Why Does Anticipation Matter for Your Business or Practice?
Having something to look forward to isn’t just important for our personal lives. It’s also something that matters in our businesses and practices. Building a sense of anticipation with your clients can raise their happiness set-point and give your programs and offerings longevity, turning a hustle sell into a joyful sell.
For example, in our Joyful Selling program, we have a weekly meet up where we can get together with our core group, talk, celebrate, brainstorm and implement strategies. This is something that members really look forward to. In fact, many say that they used to hate everything to do with selling. But that now, this is the one meeting in her week that she looks forward to.
Anticipation is also good for your own mental health, especially when you’re building a personal brand. When you have something to look forward to it gives you energy and drive. It encourages you to do the next thing and the next. And, it brings you joy and all the good things that come along with that.
You Have to Seek Them Out
At the end of the day, using anticipation as motivation and to bring joy to your life is an excellent strategy, but you need to actively seek these things out. You have to look for the things that bring you joyful anticipation and that will help lift your happiness set-point, your life and your business overall.
And let’s face it since COVID hit there’s been a lot less to look forward to with less overseas and interstate travel.
As Rita Mae Brown says in Hiss of Death, ‘Happiness is pretty simple: someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to’.
Jane Anderson is a strategic communications expert, speaker and the author of seven books including the upcoming Catalyst Content. She has over 20 years of experience helping people to communicate confidently. And she is obsessed with authentic influence and human connection to drive business growth in a world of disruption and automation. Jane delivers Content Creation Bootcamps (Virtual and Face to Face), Coaching and Keynotes. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.