How does your life satisfaction score look?

How does your life satisfaction score look?
by John Wood

In our recent blog we asked the question "2022: Your best yet or just another year....?"

The Satisfaction with Life Scale developed by Diener, Emmons and Larsen, is a widely used tool to self-measure how happy you are with your life. The scale has shown to be a valid and reliable measure of life satisfaction. Ok that's the psychology jargon...but you really can trust the results that the test gives.

Our blog talked about using the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) as a starting point for thinking about improving our lives. I guess the next question is, “I’ve got my score, what’s next?”

The key is that the score itself does not matter nearly as much as your reaction to it. Some people might get 32 and be distressed because its not 35 and they want to be 100% satisfied with their life. Others might score 20, which on the scale relates to a ‘Neutral’ result – neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and that might be fine by them. Hell, there is nothing to say that you couldn’t record 15 or less and go, “I know it says I am dissatisfied but I am okay with that”. That is okay. For all those who, regardless of their score, are happy with where they are at, move on – go about your day and enjoy it. You are unlikely to find anything beneficial in reading any further.

For the rest of us, those that are going, “Of course I want to improve, just tell me how”, I guess the next question is what is it that you need to be more satisfied?

There’s any number of ways to go about it.

The key is to look at your scores. Pick the one that is the lowest. OR Pick the one that you would most like to change. OR Pick the one that you believe is easiest to change. OR Pick the one that you think that you can make the most change in.

Then develop a plan, step by step, to make the changes that you want in your life. The key is to decide that you will make the effort to change then develop a plan as to how you will do it.  Not good at setting goals? The key is to start with the end in mind. Identify exactly where you want to be in 6 months or 12 months time, then work back to what do you need to be doing in 1 or 2 months time in order to get to where you eventually want to go.

Lastly you need to break down those intermediate goals to identify what you need to be doing in the near future, starting today, in order to be where you want to be in a month. Check out the site pencil case for this article on goal setting - smart goals and goal setting - short, medium and long term goals.


Now here’s the kicker.

You are clearly interested in this topic, because you have read through to this point. Nobody’s life is perfect, so we can all do things to improve our satisfaction. You have all of the information you need to start that journey. But what I know in writing this is by the time you read my next blog, very, very of you will be making that change.

Fortunately, in the next blog we will start to look at why.


John Wood is a teacher of psychology and mathematics, a parent educator and personal trainer...and co-owner of Ananda Goods and Ananda Education. He is passionate about - and studies - Positive Psychology and interpersonal relationships and the way they can change every aspect of life.