I am the kind of person who really enjoys setting up goals and trying to achieve them. So every year before the start of a new year, I have a couple of goals that I’d like to achieve that year. Usually one goal is about health and fitness and another goal can be anything. This has been the case since 2008. But lately, I have stopped making new year goals. Now my goals are not aligned with the years any more. I just make a goal when I feel like and have an approximate target date and try to execute as best as I can.
In my initial days of goal setting (circa 2008), one of my goal used to be along the lines of “I should be able to squat X kgs for 10 reps, or bench press Y kgs for 10 reps”. That used to be my only sole focus. I was obsessed with building strength at all costs. First couple of years was easy, but then I was having difficulty progressing anymore in gaining strength. Then I decided to gain weight (circa 2011), because I was skinny and I had a feeling that my weight was a limiting factor. That went well for sometime before I plateaued again and could not gain any more weight or strength. After those two failures, I decided to just maintain a low body fat percentage (circa 2013) and that is working out fine so far.
Likewise, in the early days of investing (circa 2011), my goals used to be along the lines of “I should be investing X amount per month this year and the corpus should grow to Y amount by the end of the year”. That did not go well again. I would be under investing for a couple of years and my corpus never reached my projections.
After retiring, I used to have two goals each year. One related to health and fitness and another related to some project that I want to work on. Health and fitness goals are related to martial arts because there is always something difficult to learn there. One year it was to learn kip-up another year it was to learn handstand etc. Again, I could see my failures. Some years I would achieve a goal before the end of year and at other other times I would fail miserably. Take my handstand for example. I have been trying for more than 2 years and still can’t do it consistently. Sometimes I would injure myself so badly trying to reach a goal that I have to give at least 6 months break for recovery.
Project goals are usually something along the lines of “Write at least 2 posts a week on my blog for the full year or setup organic farm by the end of the year”. These project goals worked well for the most part until I reached my solar panel project. That extended beyond a year. Eventually with all my experiences over the past 13 odd years of setting new year goals, I figured that these annual goal setting is not working out for me. So now I have decided not to have goals that are alined to a year. I don’t have to start something at the start of the year and finish by the end of the year. Instead, I just start some goal anytime I feel like I want to work on something. I finish it when it finishes :). I am not sure if this is a good idea, but only time will tell.
One thing I am cognizant of is that there is a possibility that I might not give enough time for a goal to be successful. You see, some efforts take time for the results to show. If i did not have a target date for the goal, I could give up too soon or not put enough effort.
For example, if you are learning a difficult skill like say handstand, it seems like it is an impossible task. You keep trying and trying but you are unable to do it until at some point you suddenly hit an inflection point and you get perfect balance. From there on it is much better. But if you did not have a longish goal like say one year, you might have given up much too early before you can reap the benefits of constant practice. So sometimes you need a yearly or longer goal.
The other extreme happens if the duration is too long and the goal is easy enough, but you just don’t know it yet. Lets take an example of doing 50 pushups at a stretch. If you have one year to do it, you will go at a slow pace, although you could have achieved it in may be 3 months. So you won’t be putting your maximum effort. There is that problem too. Anyway, I decided to remove the timelines especially the start and end dates for my goals starting this year. Lets see how that goes for a few years. The only constant is change, so I might change this logic again :). Who knows.