New year, new me. Actually, I’m a new person every second but I had to land on a few relatively static goals and desires to operate in this dimension.
I felt an urge for refined focus approximately two weeks before the new year. I had recently hit a major milestone on one of many projects. Getting there took all of my energy and I didn’t have much planned beyond. Never more have I been living in the moment.
I’ve been doing some form of goal setting on macro and micro levels for several years now, refining with each iteration.
I need to balance my growth across several life areas to become the well-rounded person I desire to be. My goals should accurately reflect realistic expectations for where I’d like to be one year from now. Some life areas may hold a greater allocation of goals than others.
It’s a little difficult to plan one year in advance. For any given month, I never know where I’m living the next. I want to stay in Taiwan for another year but this desire carries more than average perceived uncertainty. Though if the last two years taught us anything — certainty and security are an illusion.
There are many ways to break down life into categories. I’ve settled on the following life areas that I wish to create balance and harmony between.
Health for food, sleep, fitness, mental health, physical health, energy, sex.
Growth for values, purpose, character, productivity, organization, philosophy, spirituality, reading, learning, skills.
Finances for income, savings, investments, assets, budget, debts.
Materials for living situation, physical location, material possessions, data privacy and security.
Contribution for work, donations, volunteering.
Recreation for life experiences, creativity, hobbies.
Social for family, friends, organizations.
Romance for romantic relationships.
On the annual level, I’m okay with having goals not necessarily be measurable and within the realm of my control. They are there primarily to support my vision for where I’d like to be one year from now.
Plans can change at any time but I’ve designated quarterly reviews as scheduled opportunities to adjust course and refine my annual vision and goals.
Aiming towards where I could be one year from now is rather daunting. Zooming in on the annual goals and creating measurable input-based goals is a more palatable approach to achieving loftier annual goals.
Weekly reviews offer an opportunity to check in on progress towards my monthly goals and to recalibrate going into the next week.
I opted not to track weekly progress towards the goals nor break them down further on a weekly level. It would take too much time every week and too much changes every day. Additionally, it would get confusing and fall apart when weeks and months don’t align.
The only meta-habit needed is to review my daily plan early and often throughout the day. The rest cascades.
I plan my days the night before. This allows me to be reminded of scheduled events that may occur earlier than I’d otherwise naturally wake up. I reference my weekly focus notes as a guiding force to help achieve my monthly goals which were derived from my annual goals.
Part of me feels like planning is so rigid and that I should embrace my freedom by doing whatever I want when I wake up. I’m driven, so things will still get done. But if I have to choose between planning and not planning, it simply makes more sense to plan.
If I’m having a lazy day, the hardest part is starting. If I have to think about what I have to do on top of that, it is likely that I will waste a lot of time or potentially have a zero day.
Conversely, if I plan but something else comes up or I’m in the mood for something else, I can consciously make the decision to pursue that instead. I don’t have to do everything on my list, or any at all. My weekly, monthly, and quarterly reviews will give me an opportunity to observe and recalibrate my actions.
Now three weeks into the year, I haven’t even completed a monthly cycle but there really hasn’t felt like much administrative overhead and I’m feeling more focused. It’s not far off what I have been doing for years, only more refined.
I feel like I have found a healthy balance that allows me to maintain focus and direction without overwhelming administration and rigidness — keeping things fun and loose rather than robotic.
Time will tell how this holds true throughout the year.