For the last four years, I have maintained a list of goals, updated once a year, but reviewed actively over the course of the year. There are typically between 25-28 goals per year, split into various categories: skills, body, wellbeing, personal infrastructure, finances, work and writing. Additionally, there is one category that starts out empty, named “unexpected wins of great magnitude”, where bonus points can be earned.
In setting these goals, which I do on the last two days of the year, the objective is to think what it is that I want out of life, and what is practically attainable. The idea is not to flog myself for failure or to reward successes that came too easy. Instead, the idea is that when I am not sure what I should be doing, I can glance at the list, and be certain to find something that I am motivated to make progress on. The bonus is that if I’m every feeling like I’ve acheived little, I can look at the same list to prove myself wrong.
Because of the nature of the goals, I have never managed to get much more than half – which is fine, and kind of the point. If I manage to finish everything, I wasn’t aiming high enough. And if I don’t manage anything, I was aiming too high. Half is spot on in goal setting terms. And even though many don’t get completed, there is often significant progress on them: I fell less than 15 hours short of my flying goal for the year, for instance.
This process has been very good for helping me stay motivated and focused, although there are certainly some tasks which come easier than others.
For example, I am always a bit sad by how little I manage to read nowadays, compared to when I was younger. I set myself the goal of 25 books this year, and just barely made it. In all fairness, I have at this time seven books that are in various stages of completion, and a sizable tsundoku, so I could always make a last minute dash to complete the 25 if need be. I will go through these books in a separate post.
Aside from the book goal, I achieved only two of my skill goals this year; one aviation related (a formality, but had to be done) and one language-related. I had determined to get my command of Naški to A1 level this year, and I felt I had finally earned it after a long and complicated conversation with a taxi driver in Split this summer. A2 will be a longer slog. But win!
I won’t go through all the other goals, whereas some are personal or mildly awkward. But I will say, one of the two bonus points I earned this year was for flying by an active volcano for the first time. Actually, I flew around that volcano often enough that it kind of got repetitive after 15+ flights, but it was a very powerful experience nontheless.
Anyway. Goal setting for next year is about to happen, and immediately a few thoughts have come up. I want to have a wider definition of learning next year, contribute more to free software up my gardening/farming game significantly, redo my kitchen and I want to decide on where I want to live (currently 3 places in the running). There are other goals too – the details won’t be clear for a few more days. But all in all, I think I’m feeling rather good about 2022.