I have mentioned frequently that I think New Year is kind of a silly holiday. That’s probably slightly inaccurate. I think what it really is is that I don’t like when people have ridiculous expectations for how “amazing” it’s going to be or whatever. (For the record I feel the same exact way about birthdays.) I did, in fact, have a very fun NYE filled with lots of friends and laughter and my sliding down the lane after getting a little overzealous in my bowling–and no, I wasn’t drunk.
I actually really like the whole New Year thing when it comes to reflecting on the year and what has happened and where I’d like my life to go in the next year. I think this should be done with some regularity and so New Year is a great time to make sure this happens.
Earlier this week, I was at brunch with Brian (a benefit of being stuck in Utah for so long) and we were discussing motivational speakers. Brian was telling me that Tony Robbins has said that people usually overestimate what they can accomplish in a year and underestimate what they can accomplish in ten years. I actually found the quote:
Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year — and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!
This idea has been rolling around in my head for the past six days as I have been thinking about what the next year could have in store for me and I think I completely agree with it. (I have not yet mastered time nor do I know much about the rest of what Tony Robbins teaches.)
Here are some of the things I was thinking about in terms of goals for the next year:
- Losing weight (the never ending battle in my life)
- Getting out of debt (financial mastery…not my strong suit)
- Running another marathon
- Getting myself the new role I really want in my rotational program at work (I don’t even know what this is yet)
- Going on a real vacation
Now, keeping in mind this idea of overestimating what I can do in a year, and underestimating what I can do in 10, I’ve been rethinking some of these goals. For instance, I always have these grandiose weight loss plans that have me ending the year at exactly the weight I want to be (about 60 lbs less than I weight right now).
In reality, if I could live in a vacuum, I could probably lose 60 lbs in a year…but that’s all I’d do because I wouldn’t be able to think about anything else if I wanted to actually lose 60 lbs in a year. But what if I just set the goal this year to lose 10 lbs and keep it off. And then next year I do the same thing. Sure, it would take me more than a year to lose those 60 lbs, but it’s not like I would actually lose those 60 lbs in a year anyway. Doesn’t 10 lbs seem so much more manageable? And if I’m working to lose it and keep it off, and the goal is actually realistic, I’m guessing I could actually do it, and I would actually be 60 lbs lighter in six years versus ending every year frustrated that I haven’t lost a ton of weight and feeling like a total failure. And who knows, maybe I’d lose 15 instead of 10 and then I’d be done in four years.
Getting out of debt. The reality is, this is not going to happen in a year and I know this. That said, I think figuring out a realistic ten year plan could really help me feel so much better about where I’m at right now and where I could be. I will set a realistic goal for myself for the next year, and it will take into account the fact that I do want to be able to still enjoy my life. These goals will be more behavior based and less end goal based. I mean, it’s great to say, “I will have these two credit cards paid off by the end of the year,” but if I’m not changing my behaviors, how long will they really stay paid off and in the ten year scheme of things, wouldn’t it be great to figure out how I’m going to get out of debt and then how I’m going to start saving money so I can actually retire one day. (On that note, I do take advantage of my 401k match right now because that would just be throwing money away if I didn’t.)
Running another marathon: the fact is, I don’t just want to run another marathon. I want to run another marathon much faster than I ran the first. Considering how I am sucking wind now when I run any distance, it would be silly to set this goal for this year. But I do want to set a goal that will get me closer to running a faster marathon. So, in an effort to get to my goal of running three races during my year of 33, I have decided my goal will be to run three half-marathons, shaving off 10 minutes each one. (This might sound unrealistic to you experienced runners, but if you knew just how slow I run, you would know that this is totally doable.) This goal won’t require me to eat, sleep, and breathe running, but it will require me to stay focused on exercising.
Going on a real vacation. So, first of all, with all of my missed flights, this has been a real vacation. I have slept more in the past two weeks than I would have thought possible. I feel great. I’ve enjoyed eating good things, playing lots, and just hanging out. That said, I want to go on a fun trip to an exotic place (read: outside of the U.S. and western Europe). Realistically, with my current plans for the coming year, trying to do something like this would be stressful and, financially, a little unrealistic given my other goals. So, instead of making sure this one happens, I’m going to start planning for a serious vacation for next year or the year after. I will need to figure out about what it will cost and how I can start saving for it a little at a time. Again, I want to be realistic about what I can achieve in a year.
As for work, I think this is the one area where it’s easy to be realistic about what I can do in one year because I don’t have a lot of control over it. I definitely have some lofty goals for the next five years, but what I need to do is start looking at those goals and talking to my mentors about how to best reach those goals.
In fact, with all of these goals, I think it might not be a bad idea to find some people to mentor me and find some good books to read to keep me motivated (suggestions?).
Anyway, I’m excited about the year ahead…and the next ten years! Seriously, I feel like anything is possible and hopefully, by being realistic in my one year plans and ambitious in my 10 year ones, I will be able to keep this forward momentum going.