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Happy New Year! 2021 is officially in the rearview, and we look forward to 2022 with hope and excitement. This week we will dive into setting some audacious goals, and how to follow through.
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As we stand on the precipice of a new year, resolutions become all the rage. For most, the change from one calendar year to the next is the only time that they engage in any form of true self-reflection. We look at the changes we have allowed ourselves to embrace, some good, some bad, and decide that this is the year where we finally become the best versions of ourselves. The problem, almost always, is lack of commitment to these meaningful goals.
It's not that we don't want to change for the better, it's just that all too often we don't realize how much work actually goes into the goals we set for ourselves when the clock strikes midnight. Big, audacious goals require that we change ourselves in major ways, that we overcome the inertia of comfort. This is not an easy thing to do; if you've failed to achieve your goals in the past, it doesn't mean you're a bad person, or lazy, it just means you need a better strategy this time around.
I am all for setting huge goals, for reaching as high as possible, for changing ourselves for the better. The key is simply to translate these goals into recurring habits that you accomplish with regularity. If goals are the destination, habits are the fuel you put into your car on the journey. Even if you break a large goal into smaller pieces, you still need to find a way to consistently do the work required to get there.
To use a personal example, I set a goal in 2021 to read an average of one book a week, or 48 total books for the year. It seemed like a huge goal when I thought it up, but I wanted to read and learn more. What better way than to dive right in? The key to accomplishing this task was to start by looking at each month separately; a goal of 4 books within one month seems more attainable than 48 in 12 months even if the math ends up being the same.
From there, I developed a daily habit of reading to guarantee consistent progress. I use the Todoist app (linked below) on my phone, which allows me to easily set daily, weekly, or monthly recurring reminders. For iOS users, it also syncs with your Apple watch which makes it easy and convenient to see your tasks throughout the day. This framework gave me a means of making measurable progress towards my larger goal.
If you want to read more about the lessons learned on my journey to accomplish this goal, I've posted the link to a Twitter thread I wrote below. Regardless of what goals you set for yourself this year, break them down into smaller pieces and focus on the habits required to get there. By all means, shoot high and set audacious goals for yourself; just make sure you give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding along the way!
The most interesting things I've read, heard, or encountered this week:
A book a week in 2021: Twitter thread by me
After accomplishing this goal I set out for myself in 2021, I wanted to dive a little deeper and share some lessons learned along the way. Hopefully one of these bullet points (or many) prove useful to you!
The Habit bible: Atomic Habits by James Clear
I've linked this book in the newsletter before, but I always recommend it again around this time of year. If you want a true roadmap on how to develop meaningful habits and create lasting change in your life, read this book. It was the best selling book out of all categories in 2021, and it's a book I often buy multiple copies of to give out during the year. Read it.
This app makes it easy to set, and adhere to, recurring habits. The reason I like it more than many other ToDo list apps is that you can set recurring reminders easily with plain text. For example, typing "read every day" sets a recurring, daily reminder to read. This was pivotal in my success with the goals I set for myself in 2021.
The dark side of wearables: Is it time to stop using your fitness tracker? by Seattle Times
Inevitably as we set new goals for the coming year, it can be easy to lose hope if we fail to make consistent progress. Sometimes, tracking and measuring can go too far, sapping our motivation and discipline instead of aiding it. The article itself is a useful overview, but the deeper message is important: don't let your task lists and habits control you on the way to achieving your goals.
Adopting a positive mindset: Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset by Connie Mason Michaelis
This article touches on an interesting study that suggests adapting a positive, growth mindset can add an average of 7.4 years to your life. Aside from the quantity of life that this change may create, the quality of your years instantly improves when you focus on how you can take control of your life and instill positive change.
That will do it for this week! Please let me know what you liked, didn't like, and what you want to see more of. Do you want it to be longer, shorter? Do you want specific topics covered more? Less? Have a wonderful week, and remember to please forward this to your friends -- helping get the word out and get more eyes on this newsletter is hugely helpful and greatly appreciated!
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