Don’t Set Goals for 2022
The more New Year’s resolutions you set, the faster you’ll feel like a failure.
I used to pick five, seven, ten new goals each year. Sadly, making it from New Year’s Eve to January 1st never turned me into Superman. I was still the same old me, still hopelessly overwhelmed with trying to change too much all at once. Within a month or so, I failed and had to start over. Smaller. With lower expectations.
For a few years, I gave up on resolutions entirely. Then, instead of a barrage of targets, I tried setting one goal, and that worked a lot better. The real game-changer, however, was using a different concept altogether. That concept is a theme.
A theme is a laid-back, human-proof, considerate approach to improvement. Having set one for several years, I now think themes are 10x, maybe 100x better than goals. Let me explain why and how you can set one.
Goals are a bad way of trying to achieve happiness. But why?
First, goals are a constant source of pressure until you achieve them. They undermine your self-worth. You feel like you “lack” the result of the goal, and until you fix it, your self-esteem will remain in the dumps.
Second — and this is even worse — when you do achieve a goal, your sense of fulfillment never lasts. You celebrate for a minute, then move the goal post (pun intended) and set your sights on the next one.
Let’s say you want to be a millionaire. You work your ass off, but for the better part of a decade, you feel totally inadequate. You constantly compare yourself to existing millionaires and always come to the same conclusion: You’re not measuring up. Regardless, you grit your teeth and persist. One day, you hit the magic $1 million mark. You jump with joy. You pop the champagne. You walk around like you own the world for a day.
The next morning, however, you wake up and go: “Okay, now what?” You realize the million means nothing. Maybe it’s not liquid. You don’t actually have it in cash. And anyway, it’s not enough. A million’s not what it used to be! You start worrying about inflation. You look up house prices. My god, a flat now costs $500,000! It only takes a few minutes for you to decide you need $10…