It’s the New Year: goals or no goals?

It’s once again the new year, and people ask, “So what are your resolutions for the year?”

From my last post, I did not mention achieving any goals for 2012. Yes there were a few strike-offs on my bucket list (like going to New York, performing live for the first time, etc) But… I didn’t exactly have any concrete goals for 2012. It was frightening in the beginning, but as the year rolled by, I just started following what I wanted to do and it all worked out beautifully.

I can’t remember exactly when, it was either late 2011 or early 2012 that I came across The Best Goal is no Goal post by Leo over at Zen Habits. It hit home for me, because I was frustrated with setting goals / new year resolutions and not being able achieve them completely.  So I thought, why not give this a go?

It’s working for me, well partially ;) I adopted half of the idea. It’s clear in my mind there are areas I want to improve in – baking, music, photography, writing. For each area, I do have some sort of goal in mind e.g. for baking, I want to write a cookbook, to document recipes I have tested; for music, I want to be able to write songs, sing and play certain instruments well, and so on. But once I have that end goal in mind, I do not have a concrete path to achieve it and keep my options open to new possibilities. And well, you never know, you might experience or learn thing new in that area you want to improve in. That in itself is already an unexpected achievement!

Leo’s take on having goals is that sometimes people become so focused on their goals that they fail to see other opportunities around them. Or they see the goals as a means to an end (that everything will get better once they achieve that goal). Or when people fail to achieve their goals, they get disappointed because they feel like they’re not good enough…

… which Tim Ferriss, the author of the 4-hour work week (who’s all about goals!), addressed and gave his opinions on in this video interview with Leo below. One more thing I liked about this video is how they both agreed that many things they did were experimental, and they figured out what worked for them personally.

Tim Ferriss vs. Leo Babauta on Goals from Leo Babauta on Vimeo.

 What are your thoughts? Do goals work for, or against you? Or is it time to try out experiment with something new and see if it works for you? ;)

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