At the end of 2020 I took my goals list for that year to take the stock of the situation and see whether I succeeded in it. In fact, at the end of the previous year I decided to write down the goals I would have achieved during the entire 2020 and it took me few weeks of reasoning for doing so.
If done wittingly, the goal set for an entire year can be very powerful and fulfilling because one year time is long enough to give you the time to set up also complex environments that you need to achieve the goals, but it is not so long to lose the perception of enhancement of the goals themselves.
Medium term goals are then important because they are not simple to achieve, but they are easily measurable, and it is easy to verify its progress.
My goals for 2020
Here is my goals list for the past year and as you can see, I managed to complete almost everything.
One of the most useful things to do is to divide the goals list in sections so that every set of goals belong to its specific field. This will help you to better visualize and remember what you want to achieve.
More importantly, it is useful to keep it simple and explicit. For example, I wanted to read a lot of books, so I decided a realistic number and set up an empty list so that it would have been clearer to check how may I read and how many were left.
Another tip is to write down the date in which you completed a goal, or even the date by what you want that goal to be completed. I wanted all the goals to be completed by the end of 2020, so I simply took note of the completion date.
As you can see this is a very clear and precise list, it states exactly what I was supposed to do.
I had to lose a certain amount of weight, save a certain amount of money, and read a certain number of books. Those numbers were completely arbitrary, and I have been simply able to assume realistic objectives, that I have achieved very precisely, by the way.
This goal set has a flaw: all these goals are arbitrary.
I have been lucky to choose the precise goals that I would have been able to achieve.
Setting arbitrary goals is not always a good practice because oblige us to be strict to a plan even if the environment or the situation changes. This is not sustainable on the long term because it requires both to always have great skill for predicting what you are able to achieve, and to have a consistent and predictable future in front of you.
The entire 2020 reminded us that those two characteristics are very difficult to achieve and, most importantly, rarely depend only on our will. So, I decided to change my attitude to goal setting switching from arbitrary goals to systems.
My goals for 2021
In this new goal set that I chose for my 2021, there is a dramatic change in the content.
As you can see, I removed every number regarding the goal itself, but I set everything up as a system that I want to implement in my life.
I do not want to get stick to a weight limit I want to achieve, which in fact were only an effect of a healthy lifestyle, but I want to set up the healthy lifestyle itself, regardless of what weight I will reach. Going jogging 3 or 4 times a week is how I will implement a healthy lifestyle and, hopefully, it will bring me to a better weight for my age and height.
It is very difficult to monitor and measure the social interactions, but their importance is very high. The 2020 experience of social isolation and distancing will always remind us the importance of building friendships and living social experiences.
Moreover, I am going to move to London in a few weeks, and I really do not know what experiences and social situation I will be living, so I kept it simple deciding to get involved in at least 2 group activities or university societies.
This aspect regards the blog you are reading right now, and in this context, I decided not to set a certain number of posts or video to publish.
This is because it is very difficult to stay stick to a plan which involves moving to another city, starting a new job, meeting new people, etc. so, I wanted to focus on one of the most important aspect of a long-term activity, which is momentum.
The ability to be consistent is very valuable, and I want to be such; I decided to set a publication frequency rather that several posts or videos.
This is important because it gives me the commitment to publish regularly and prefer the evenness of publication rather than the number of posts and videos.
Also, here I decided to drop the number of books and switch to a rhythm that I want to maintain.
I decided so because books can be short or long, easy, or difficult. I may need to read the same book multiple times if it is the case. Some complex concepts need more attention and so it is impossible to predict how many books we can read.
Moreover, as in the previous sections, I privileged the consistency and the momentum. I do not want to read 20 books within the first 6 months and then stop reading. I want to read consistently every week, so this is the best way I could stay consistent to my goal.
In conclusion, I want to suggest you to set your goals not as a list of single tasks to do, but rather as a list of habits that will become part of your life.
This will make every goal sustainable on the long term because it will not disappear once reached once but will remain the same until you decide to change the entire system and dedicate yourself to something else.
However, this also requires that the choice of objectives to be particularly wise because in this way they will not only be individual goals, but actual lifestyles.