Building a good life
People from all over the world tend to want similar things in life in order to feel happy and satisfied. When people are happy with their lives, they’re less likely to get into trouble.
The Good Lives Model tells us that everyone needs to feel satisfied in a few different areas of their life to feel good.
Sometimes, if we don’t find good, healthy ways to feel satisfied, we might use unhelpful or harmful ways instead.
These might help us feel better in the moment but, over time, these strategies can hurt other people and ourselves.
The model breaks down the states of mind, personal characteristics, activities or experiences that are sought by people and, if achieved, they are likely to increase well-being.
Find out more about each section
We have developed the following Good Lives Plan to help you work out what needs are important to you, how you meet them and set goals for living a healthy life.
Sometimes it can be really hard to meet your needs and there can be things that get in the way.
You might then try to meet your needs through unhelpful ways, particularly if these are things that you have done before, because we often go back to old habits, particularly in times of stress.
Here’s an example
Tony has previously been convicted of internet offences. Tony lives alone and is quite isolated. However, he places great emphasis on social contact/activity which he used to meet through online chat. Tony has decided to meet this need by volunteering to undertake work in a community garden where he would meet a lot of new people.
Continuing with the example of Tony – he may face barriers to meeting his need for connection as his restrictions, due to previous convictions, mean he can’t volunteer in the garden because a lot of young people spend time there. Tony has the potential to relapse into inappropriate use of the Internet in order to meet other people again. However, Tony was aware this might be a problem and had planned ahead so he had a backup plan. He thought that if he was unable to do voluntary work in the garden he would be able to work for the local animal shelter. Tony was able to start walking dogs for the charity and met other volunteers so still got a chance to meet his need for socialising, plus he started doing more exercise so felt healthier.
How do I plan for obstacles?
Some obstacles are easier to overcome than others. To overcome them you might need to get help or support from professionals or specialist organisations (such as counselling to deal with grief or other negative life experiences).
Some obstacles can take a long time and will be hard work to overcome, for example, building self-confidence. But obstacles can be beaten and it is important to keep positive when tackling obstacles. See our problem-solving section for advice on how to overcome obstacles.
If you have any concerns, questions, or would just like to talk about what you are going through, our non-judgemental helpline advisors are here to support you. You can stay anonymous and don’t have to give your real name or any contact details. If you’re not ready to speak to anyone yet, you can also use our live chat or send a secure email.
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