Resolutions make me nervous.
At the beginning of each year I am full of confidence. I know exactly what needs to be done. I know exactly what I want. Except, I don't. I think I know what's important but that's actually not true. Very soon into the year as the realities become evident my priorities are completely changed.
The things I thought were important are quickly overshadowed by unforseen circumstances and desires.
So, typically my goals stumble at the first hurdle.
I think for most people this may not be much of a problem. "Aim high and if you fail you might still achieve something." The very act of setting a goal already guarantees a greater level of success. Unfortunately for me, maybe due to a personality type, I've noticed that the act of writing down a goal or ambition seals it in my mind as an immovable milestone which determines the success of the whole year. As a result there have been many good years that I felt I couldn't rejoice, despite numerous triumphs.
What I had written down had not been accomplished.
Since 2014, to avoid this constant sense of failure, I've refused to set any resolutions.
Since implementing this change in approach:
- I learnt to code.
- I've lived in Australia for a year.
- I've landed several six figure roles as a software engineer.
- I've contracted for a while
- I've most recently stepped away from contracting for a time of deeper personal self discovery.
Looking back, the growth has been amazing. The most surprising this is that this all happened without setting specific goals for what I wanted to accomplish. I look at the person I was 5 years ago and who I am today, and the difference is astounding. By refusing to constrain my ambitions for each year, I've had the flexibility to try different things, embrace myself and learn new skills.
So far so good.
However, I've noticed a strange phenomenon. While living without resolutions or plans is great for exploring opportunities, it's not very effective as a means of achieving a lasting impact. Over the period of time without constraints, I've worked many jobs because I typically come into a role with a specific outcome in mind. Once that outcome has been satisfied nothing else keeps me me in place. I'm just as likely to start something as I am to end it abruptly.
I'm a nomad floating through life on a journey of experiencing things I'm interested in, with no anchor.
So maybe something needs to change.
I think now is the time to make that change. The main difference between me today and me in the past is that I know what I want now. I have a deeper understanding of what encourages me, what excites me. But I also am very aware of what demotivates me and what leads to depression. I have developed internal constraints from my increased understanding of who I am.
As a result I feel more comfortable setting external constraints in the form of new years resolutions.
How I've decided on my goal
Typically for a new year goals include things like:
- Go to the gym more.
- Spend more time with family.
- Learn a new instrument.
And all of these are good ideas. The problem, is how to measure success at the end of the year. Also they all feel more like steps towards a larger goal and ambition.
Since you've already read the title of this essay, you probably can surmise what the goal I've landed on is.
This year I have set a goal to become a billionaire.
Here's some of the thought process behind it.
- It's easy to track - At the end of the year I can ask am I a billionaire? If not then I failed.
- It's big - It allows me to really stretch myself.
- It's different - I haven't read that seen this goal before (while it probably has been a goal).
- It's controversial - This draws attention and means that there's a lot more accountability.
I'm really excited about the changes I'm making and I can't wait to see how this year progresses.