There is an interesting quote which says that a millionaire writes down their goals once a day but the billionaire writes them down twice a day. I am not sure if that is true but I do think that having a five year goal is better than a short term New Year’s resolutions. Why? Well, apparently around 66% of people don’t even make it one month into their resolutions. They are hard to keep and don’t always result in long term life changes.
I think that making smaller, regular changes is more helpful. My key resolution this year was to stop going to restaurants – I was going to try avoiding them for one month. My plan lasted two days because when everyone returned from the holiday season, I wanted to hang out too. Looking back, my focus probably should have been on creating healthier eating habits over time (doh)! OK, more on my theory….
My theory about goals
I love a plan, so in 2011 I decided to do something different. I decided to set five year goals with targets for each year that would help me lead up to some BHAGs i.e. Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Each year I would build on my skills. As I near the end of my timeframe, it has been interesting to see what has worked and what hasn’t worked over time and how some of my key goals have changed – drastically in some cases.
When I started, I was newly married and had just moved from the US to the UK. I was still in my 20s, I was looking for a new job, basically I was totally in a different place. Now I am in my 30s, single again, and still trying to figure out what I want to do once I’m an adult. My German is better but I’m not so sure about my French. There were some things that were successful though. I transferred from the government sector to the corporate sector, I traveled to several new countries, I restarted my life in a new country.
How it all played out
While some of the goals still fell away, I was better off setting some major long terms goals than a few short ones that fell by the wayside. Because I knew the changes would happen over a longer period of time, I also found that I was making changes step-by step and generally feld less pressure. If I failed the first couple of month, it was easy to get right back up on the horse.
Now, if you do try to set some resolutions, that’s OK too. It’s a good way to kick things off and get going in the right direction, just don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.