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‘What you can plan is too small for you to live’

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I’ve always been a planner. It feels good to make a goal, work toward it, then check it off your list, even if your goal…

A classic survivor test shows us the danger of abandoning your mission whenever things get uncomfortable

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Thankfully, you’ve managed to find a few supplies in the wreckage. But while some of the things are vital to your survival, others are useless. To stay alive until rescuers arrive, you must decide which among these items are most important:

  • A loaded .45 caliber pistol
  • A book titled Edible Plants and Animals…

Setting goals can feel like a little… much these days. How demoralizing is it when you set your mind to something—saving an extra few hundred bucks this month, or finally using that online yoga subscription, or making one new vegetarian dinner each week—and then proceed to immediately fail at it? Very, is the answer. And none of us needs to go looking for extra ways to feel bad these days.

So is there any way to keep moving forward without setting yourself up for frustration?

Darius Foroux’s advice: Take a cue from Stoicism and focus on what’s within your control…

3 strategies for making mistakes you can learn from

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But in Covid times, New Year’s Resolutions seem like a relic from another era. Most people aren’t exactly crushing goals, or even vaguely thriving. Most of us are barely keeping it together, each individual stress exacerbated by the stress of feeling like we’re failing at everything, all the time. …

👩‍💻 Today’s tip: Ask yourself, what would my replacement do?

The question comes from Dave Girouard, the CEO of the tech startup Upstart. He tells First Round Review that as a mental exercise, he thinks about what would happen if his board got together and fired him. “And they went out and found the very best CEO in the world, one who would just make me look like a fool. And if they bring her in and she starts at Upstart — what would she do differently than what I’m doing?”

How would someone with a clean slate and eyes…

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Most of us enter January on the life equivalent of a Red Bull high: amped, but in an intense, jittery way that inevitably leads to crash.

In almost everything else, some kind of slow, measured warm-up is considered good form — you rehearse before a speech, train before a marathon, tinker with an email before hitting send. You don’t start a year cold if you want to do it right. Which is why Mollie Chen, the founder of Birchbox, recently suggested a small calendar tweak in her newsletter: Think of January as the staging area for the year, a time…

The lists you aren’t making but should be

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But lists are still a tragically underused tool. They’re great for productivity and big goals, sure, but when you get creative with them, that’s where the magic really happens. A good list can streamline your days and improve your weeks in radical, unexpected ways. …

Today’s tip: Keep a list of skills you want to master.

Everything is easier to handle when you put it in a list. Start a Google sheet to track the new skills you want to learn, or learning opportunities that interest you. It will help you stay organized, and then later on will serve as a useful record of what you’ve done and progress you’ve made.

📚 More from Forge on life-enhancing spreadsheets:

Ranking My Relationships Made Me a Better Friend

Track Your Failures Obsessively

Dump All Your Exes Into a Spreadsheet

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Blurry image of a woman walking past clocks.
Blurry image of a woman walking past clocks.
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The glamorous achievement of a big and major goal is won in small and unglamorous increments. One way to make sure those baby steps not only happen but feel meaningful along the way is to plan for them. As Mike Sturm writes in Forge, if you “create a realistic time block for the task” and build your day around it, you’ll end your day with “at least one win.”

The most important part of this process comes right at the top: Estimate how long it will take you to get done. Realistically.

“Oftentimes, we fail to finish things simply because…

Today’s tip: To turn your big goal into a regular practice, calculate your hours per year.

Here’s a helpful perspective shift: Instead of “I better finally run that marathon I keep talking about,” or whatever your marathon is, think about the number of hours you’ll spend working toward that goal. The time-management guru Laura Vanderkam estimates that—assuming eight hours of work and eight hours of sleep each day—each of us has somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 free hours per year, depending on caregiving and other responsibilities.

That’s right — even if you’re really busy, you probably have at least…

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