Dr. Judy Ho on The Secret to Happiness and Achieving Your Goals in 2021

Psychologist and TV host Dr. Judy Ho shared how we can achieve happiness and our goals in 2021 on ‘Ten Minute Talks with Meagan Lynn.’

Meagan Lynn

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: December 29th, 2020 1:20 pm PST

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

After this year, many of us are hoping to make 2021 our year. As the new year approaches, we make lists of goals and dreams we hope to accomplish in the next twelve months. 

If your plans were thrown off this year, Dr. Judy Ho has the solution to make sure your goals come to fruition in the new year. Dr. Ho, a licensed therapist, professor and co-host of The Doctors and Face The Truth on CBS, specializes in helping people meet their goals, as she writes in her book “Stop Self-Sabotage: Six Steps to Unlock Your True Motivation, Harness Your Willpower, and Get Out of Your Own Way.”

“Self-sabotage is when we get in our own way despite our best intentions,” Dr. Ho explained on Ten Minute Talks with Meagan Lynn. “Sometimes we’re not conscious of it and other times we are, but then we have this kind of hopeless attitude towards it.”

The key to happiness and achieving your goals

Dr. Ho says one of the major keys to meeting our goals is also the key to unlocking true happiness: our values. She says the problem is that most people tend to strive for hedonic happiness, which is achieved through maximizing experiences of pleasure and enjoyment while minimizing bad feelings or threats. 

“It’s that sense of happiness that you get when you first take a bite of a really good meal, that first big paycheck that you get, the feeling that you get when you first get off the plane and you’re on vacation,” she explained. “But those things don’t present opportunities for everlasting happiness.”

The kind of happiness Dr. Ho says we should strive for is eudaimonic happiness, which focuses on cultivating meaningful experiences to create a purpose-filled life rather than just cultivating good feelings, which Dr. Ho says isn’t always possible to begin with.

“You don’t just have pure happiness and pure sadness and pure anger. You have mixes of feelings,” she said. “So you can in fact be in the middle of a really tough time in your pursuit of goals but still feel at the same time a deep sense of gratitude and gratification from what you’re doing.”

The way to achieve eudaimonic happiness, Dr. Ho says, is through continually focusing on your values. 

“I like to describe values as a direction that you’d like to travel. Goals are like the sign posts. They’re like the exits that you pull off of on a freeway,” Dr. Ho said. “It’s like the goals are the things that you stop off for on the way to pursuing your values, but you’re never done pursuing your values. You’re constantly thinking about traveling towards that destination.” 

Dr. Ho says the benefit of pursuing a value-centric view of happiness is that even when you don’t achieve all your goals for the day, if you lived in accordance with your values, you can count that day a success. Additionally, this view of happiness allows for acknowledgement of the inevitable negative feelings we experience, too. 

“Our society is so insistent on avoiding feelings and suppressing them. It’s very important that we understand that feelings are there for a reason,” she said. “They’re adaptive. They’re part of our survival mechanism. And if we didn’t have negative feelings, we wouldn’t even know what positive feelings were.” 

“The less you struggle with them, the more you’re going to be able to achieve that feeling of calm and understand that you can tolerate negative feelings when they come up, and that gives you a sense of pride and joy.” 

Staying focused on your values

Dr. Ho has several practices she outlines in her book “Stop Self-Sabotage” to revisit and review your values on a daily basis, including a values card sort she offers for free on her website which helps to determine your top values. 

“Once you do know what your top three to five values are, a really easy way to keep in touch with them every day is to do a values checkup at the end of the day,” she said. “Think about your top three values and ask yourself, ‘Did I do something in service of this value today?’ And if you did, awesome, but if one value got missed, you affirm that you will do something in the next 24 hours to honor that value.”

Other activities Dr. Ho recommends to stay in touch with your values involves connecting them to your various senses. This could be creating a values playlist of songs that represent your top 5-10 values which you listen to every morning while getting ready, or finding a visual reminder of your values and setting it as your phone or computer background 

“Those are the types of things that I would really advocate for people to do because they’re kind of fun to come up with, and they’re ways in which to honor your values and have reminders for yourself throughout the day.”

The Blueprint for Change

These exercises and reminders of your values all get pulled together in Dr. Ho’s sixth and final step in beating self-sabotage, the Blueprint for Change. The Blueprint for Change is Dr. Ho’s version of a vision board, creating a plan of attack for achieving your goals. 

“It’s like the building blocks of a house. When you look at the blueprint, you will be able to see everything that we’ve been talking about so far,” she said. “The behaviors you’re trying to change, what’s getting in the way of you changing them, how to actually change those thoughts and behaviors, what values are the most important to you, and how they feed into the goal that you’ve set for yourself.”

Dr. Ho’s Blueprint for Change is different from most vision boards in that it isn’t just an aspirational collage of images, but a concrete plan with tangible steps to follow.

“All of those things will be in one convenient place and the more you visit with it, the more it becomes real for you, and the more able you’ll be able to implement it,” she said. 

On the journey to stopping self-sabotage and achieving your goals, Dr. Ho says it’s important to practice self-compassion. 

We’re not motivated when we beat ourselves up. In fact, it’s just going to lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy,” she said. “The more we beat ourselves up, the more we feel bad about ourselves, and the more likely we are to actually self sabotage because we believe we don’t deserve good things.”

“Self-compassion is so important because self-compassion allows us to accept good things that happen to us, and also allows us to take action so that those good things can happen.”

For more on the six steps to stopping self-sabotage, you can check out Dr. Ho’s website where you can pick up her book, or follow her at @drjudyho.

About The Author:

Meagan Lynn is a host at AfterBuzz TV and Elon University graduate with a degree in journalism. She loves singing, listening to inspirational podcasts and watching reality TV.

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

“We don’t just celebrate and cover the top shows, content and stars, we celebrate and cover ALL the shows, content and stars.”

Maria Menounos

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