…if you don’t plan on working your butt off. It’ll just depress you by the end of March.
You can spend days writing down your goals, creating activity plans and tacking massive to-do lists on your bulletin boards but it won’t mean a thing if you don’t actually do anything. Writing everything down and sticking reminders in visible places are fantastic ways to move you toward your goals if you actually do the stuff you write down. Even creating attainable and measurable goals with deadlines don’t amount to anything if you don’t do the actual labour of working towards your goals each and everyday. As a hardcore proponent of goal setting and planning it pains me to say it, but some people will always suck. They know exactly what they need to do. They know exactly how to do it. But they just won’t do it.
Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right”. That’s wonderful and largely true. But what so many of those inspirational quotes fail to account for is the simple lack of motivation. Setting goals, or reading a book Oprah recommends is not going to cure laziness. Oprah (and many others) also said “Do what you love and the money will follow…” What is not included in that bit is “…only if you work your ass off everyday, deal with multiple failures without losing enthusiasm and get rid of all the negative people in your head-space.”
Goals are only useful if you plan to do the work. Writing out goals without planning on expending the effort to attain them is just fooling yourself. I believe in the power of attraction. I believe that constantly thinking about your goals is beneficial. But I also know there’s no such thing as magic and wish-granting fairies. Instead of praying for good things to happen, make better use of your time by making good things happen.
Here are my 3 resolutions for 2012:
1. Finish whatever I start. I resolve not to set any goals that look good on paper but virtually impossible to achieve given the realities of work, kids and life in general. Attaining sustainable happiness is easy – just accomplish something you set out to accomplish. But don’t be stupid about your goals. If you’re grossly out of shape, you’re not going to be ripped in a month. If you want to run a marathon, you need to be able to make it to the end of the block without passing out first. See the final goal but accept that you’re going to have to hit all the smaller goals that come before it first.
2. Continue to get rid of negative, pointless people. Sounds awful but since I started this exercise 4 years ago, everything about life soared. See your own attention and affection as a valuable resource. Double your attention for those you care about and choose not to partake in the drama of pointless people’s lives. You have a choice who you associate with and whatever obligation you believe you have with people in the past are obligations you’ve decided to keep. Just make sure they’re real obligations and you’re not clinging on to relationships because you feel you’re expected to. Nothing is better than only associating with positive, non-calculating people. Always assume people are good. But the moment you realize they’re not, move the hell on.
3. Continue to meet more good people. I’ve had a helluva 2011. When you make a living selling and raising money, you meet a lot of people who only want to know you because they think you can do something for them. But just like all things with life, meeting great people requires meeting bad ones as well. For every guy you meet who runs a Ponzi scheme, you meet three who are dedicated to improving humanity. For every one lying CEO who wants to raise money just to pay himself, you meet three who sincerely want to see their business live so they can deliver value to their investors. Most people are great. Don’t let the bad ones discourage you from finding them.
2012 is looking good. If you’re one of those great folks who consistently takes responsibility for your own lives, health and careers, you are going to have a banner year. The economy will continue to sputter and likely do a hard dip midway through the year. Dead-weight and bloat will be cut from the corporate world. People who cannot justify their value will lose their jobs. As long as you always do more than the next guy and constantly act to improve yourself, you are going to have a fantastic year!
Happy 2012 folks!