What I don’t like are resolutions. I believe goal setting should be ongoing. I set goals every week, month, 13 weeks, 6 months, and year. Those goals roll with me and the year and the systems I use are constantly changing. There is nothing better than turning on a few pump-up songs and pushing yourself to call your shots.
At least, I think it is pretty great.
This was my 2019-to-2020 process…
Let’s call the 2020 shot. For me, success on December 31st, 2020 means I have achieved the following:
- Run at least 1500 miles (stretch goal is 2020)
- Read at least 47 books (stretch goal is 52)
- Secure one adjunct teaching role
- Double the revenue of Blue Sky Partners
- Double the clients I engage with at Mission Capital
- Launch at least 2 ideas I have been thinking on but not acting on
- Write at least 9 posts on Medium (stretch 12)
- Join at least 2 non-profit boards
- Raise significant (for me) capital for non-profits/candidates I support
I share this because these 9 goals took a few miles running and nearly an hour of writing to develop.
The purpose was for them to be meaningful, measurable, and hard. The process launched with taking a narrative snapshot of my last month and being honest with my journey and areas I could improve. In 2016, I fell in love with Best Self Journal and now I am falling in love with the Best Self Planners. From there, I developed a narrative (feeling) of what success would look like. Only then did I start developing SMART goals and break down what I want from 2020. This process motivates me because it makes the journey of 1,500 miles (running goal, get it?) manageable. I know that these goals are reasonable because I thought about them. I know how I will break them down to achieve them. And… best yet, I know what a stretch will look like if I can blow past them!
One of the things I learned is that calling the shot does two things. It motivates me to get off my ass and do the work AND it actually kind of makes me feel like a badass.
Trying to harness that feeling is important to propel yourself into achieving your goals. As many as 80% of all New Years' resolutions fail. That might be why a quick search to find the source this time of year brings up more articles on habits and less on science.
That’s why I like the podcast the Happiness Lab (and specifically an episode on gratitude). It is easy to listen to Me Too, and enjoy the playfulness of the song and lyrics, but it also motivates me to be grateful for my life and the opportunities I can forge for myself. The Happiness Lab identifies that gratitude is a stronger motivator than willpower. That is why the majority of New Years’ resolutions will fail by January 17th. In fact, the running app Strava calls January 19th Quitters Day because that is when most people abandon or stall on their fitness goals.
It only takes .05% of a year to fall behind.
Knowing that the odds are against me, is motivating though. I am grateful that I am mobile enough to attempt to run thousands of miles. I am grateful I am able to have space and disposable wealth to read a book a week. I am grateful for co-workers and partners that let me explore opportunities as a potential board member, teacher, and community activist. When I take this lens, hitting my goals is about showing my appreciation and admiration, not putting a “W” on the board for my ego and ego alone. When I listen to Meghan though, I know there is a little ego to attempt these things and that is okay.
The other 99.95% of the year…
This is about the lyrics for me.
…everything is just right, everything is blue sky
But, how huge that divine
And the hungrier the ghost, the more it opens wide
And nothing’s gonna stop us now
Yeah, nothing’s gonna stop us now
So turn up the radio
And turn off the lights
I wanna ask for help…
It is mid-January. I’ve called the shots. I am grateful. I have a foundation of habits and a desire to hit these goals. The odds are still against me.
The divide between success and failure can be wide. My goals are ambitious this year. That means the divided is wider than years before. I am being more public about my aspirations… that divide is now a little wider again.
I am confident. I am very confident. I will come back to my music and my songs. I will find my place to nibble at the edges and achieve most of my audacious goals. I will use my planners and process to move forward a little every week.
Most importantly, I will be asking for help from my community groups, friends, colleagues, partners, loved ones, and you.
At the end of the day and year, it is very likely I will not achieve 100% of my goals. The nature of the goals though is the attempt. If I try and miss, I still achieve more than not trying at all.
And that is what motivates me for 2020.