Our eldest son Matthew went for an audition yesterday for a new role in one of Australia’s television drama series, and he received a number of text messages from his acting buddies and mentors that said “Chookas”.

This is, as I understand it, a bit like the old saying “Break a leg” that’s often used oddly enough when what we really mean is “I hope it all goes well.”

In the field of positive psychology, hope theory plays an important part in understanding the way we tend to look at our beliefs about control in our lives.

What we know from the research is the more we believe we have the capacity and freedom to make choices in our life and the level of belief we have in what we can control in our life, the higher our overall sense of wellbeing.

It’s neurotic to think that we can control everything in our lives. However, when we are clear that we can control how we react to whatever life sends our way, and we are resourceful in looking for alternatives to help us shift and move toward achieving our goals, we develop a higher sense of wellbeing in our personal and work lives.

Key here is obviously whether you’ve got clear goals that you’re working toward.

Humans are aspirational goal seeking beings. Without goals in our lives, we create the tendency to drift aimlessly, lacking purpose, lacking direction. When we are lacking in goals, purpose and therefore direction, at a sub-conscious level, there is a feeling of stagnation.

While there are always exceptions to any rule, the evidence overwhelmingly supports the benefits of goals to our overall sense of wellbeing, to our positive emotional and physical health.

So in this short post today, just a reminder for you and a gentle pattern interrupt in your day to ask you if you’re clearly working toward your goals? Do you have lifestyle goals that you’re working toward? Do you have personal character goals that you’re working toward? Do you have workplace goals that you’re working toward? Do you have physical, emotional, spiritual goals that you’re working toward?

Tom Rath and Jim Harter in their classic book Well Being – The five essential elements point to 50 years of continuous research across 150 countries representing 98% of the world’s population and highlight that there are five areas of wellbeing. (1) Career Wellbeing (2) Social Wellbeing (3) Financial Wellbeing (4) Physical Wellbeing and (5) Community Wellbeing.

While each of these five areas of wellbeing will have subsets, they offer a great place to check in on whether you’re working toward your personal wellbeing in each of these areas… in other words, do you have goals in each of these areas, or are you just leaving them to chance.

As I’ve written many times before, when we leave things to chance, the chances are we will just leave them.

Paradoxically, while I started with the importance of hope and optimism in our lives, hoping our life will go well isn’t enough. Leaving our personal wellbeing to chance ought never be an option… it’s certainly one of those things in life where the choices we make will have an almost immediate and direct impact.