It’s a very bold, and probably ill-advised, statement to say “2019 is my year!”. However, I’m trying to keep that ballpark sentiment in my head. I have to be careful – I don’t make resolutions or a list of things I must achieve when each new year rolls around, but I do try to have a nice little picture in my head of which direction I’d like to be moving in. Sometimes I even dare to set a few goals. This might seem like bad business to you, but I’ve found in the past that the pressure I put on myself through the very act of listing What I Need To Do This Year leaves me in a paralysed ball of fear. Parallel to that is also the sense of shame and failure when I get towards the end of any given arbitrary time period, with less to show for it than I’d like. So, no checklists. But I do have goals.
I was going to describe some of those here, but as coincidence would have it, my morning routine of watching at least two random TED Talks before brushing my teeth unearthed this very short video.
If you can’t spare a few minutes to watch it (and to be honest it’s not that thrilling) let me sum up in the speaker’s own words:
“The repeated psychology tests have proven that telling someone your goal makes it less likely to happen… ideally you would not be satisfied until you'd actually done the work. But when you tell someone your goal... the mind is kind of tricked into feeling that it's already done. And then because you've felt that satisfaction, you're less motivated to do the actual hard work necessary.”
It was an eye-opener for me. Looking back over the times I’ve taken to social media with my epic plans, I have to be honest with myself and admit it’s mostly been because I wanted some form approval straight away. I wanted the payoff of having people gasp and applaud and admire my spinning brain cogs. But what Derek Sivers says is bang on. Once I’ve made my grand announcements, it feels like I’ve achieved something already. In reality, I have achieved absolutely nothing other than making a personal press-release. Surely it would be better to sit on all that stuff and have the urge to share bubble so ferociously beneath my surface that I cannot help but act with purpose, efficiency, and fire in order to be able to come to that point in time when – instead of shouting “this is what I’m going to do” – I climb up to my own personal mountain top and yodel “this is what I’ve done”. At the very least, I’ll probably get a bigger reaction. Actually no – that’s bollocks. At the very least I will have achieved something. Probably far more effectively than if I’d wasted three months resting on the laurels of my own self-satisfaction.
In light of this – no – you get none of my goals. Live with it. What I can give you is a little glimpse into some of the things I’m going to be getting up to in order to achieve my super-secret, “if I told you I’d have to kill you” targets.
Doesn’t that all sound so very exciting? Aren’t you all just pulling your hair out with anticipation? Actually, probably not – I haven’t told you jack. But hopefully by taking this approach, I might start pulling my hair out with excitement.
As for last year, because it would be remiss of me not to reflect a little, I’ll leave you with this. I like it.
PS - No word of a lie, as I was finishing up this post I received an email to inform me that "Out of House and Home" has been shortlisted for the H E Bates Short Story Competition. So that's... a huge freaking deal, I guess.