I just finished planning the next year, and all my goals have the same deadline : October 11th 2015.
Why not December 31st ?
The reason is that I realized a long time ago that the change in calendar year is not a meaningful enough event to build your life systems around.
That’s one reason why New Year’s resolution are mostly useless. If you waited for an arbitrary date to start your new habit, you probably don’t really value it.
DCBKK is the new New Year
If you don’t believe changing years is a big deal, how do you set deadlines for your goals ?
You could just chose an arbitrary date – and there is a lot of that going on in my own system.
But for the biggest goals, the best solution is to find a date that means something to you.
And for my business, that’s DCBKK.
(For those of you who don’t know, DCBKK is an annual entrepreneurship conference in Bangkok)
This works because I can visualize myself at this event next year.
Will I have accomplished what I set out to do last time ? Will I have something new and cool to talk about with people I respect ? Will I have made enough money to afford one room service pizza ?
Whether I achieve something in December or January… meh, it doesn’t really matter.
However, whether I reach my goals before or after DCBKK 2015… that gets me going.
(But again, I’m a weirdo who still wears his red bracelet every day).
Making deadlines meaningful
In the absence of a boss or an organization to enforce arbitrary deadlines, it’s useful to make these deadlines less arbitrary and more meaningful to us as individuals.
I think that “I’m going to start this new diet on January 1st” is a lousy goal.
But what about “I want to lose 10 Kg before swimsuit season” ?
I’d wager that’s a much more effective way to think about it, because you can easily visualize what it’ll feel like.
Or instead of saying “I want to write this book in 6 months”, you could say “I want to finish this book before my daughter is born”.
You can even manufacture your own deadlines using travel plans. I’m leaving Saigon in 6 weeks, and I want to finish a project before I go.
I can see myself relaxing in the plane if the work is done on time.
But I can also see myself stressed out if I have to stop working for two days to travel, and then attempt to start again on a project that’s almost done. Arg !
Building your own holidays
I used to be a calendar-equalitarian.
Every date was equal. Who cares if I was born exactly X years ago ? I don’t remember the events of that day very well.
But humans have always had rituals to shape their years, usually centered around seasons and agriculture. Of course, there is a reason for that. That’s the way we work.
And in the same way that having rituals gives structure and meaning to the passing of the days, having “holidays” can help you make sense of the years.
Even better : you get to chose your own.
Next time on the blog : I tell you what the new Christmas is.