‘Tis time for New Year’s Resolutions, which alongside Goal Setting and Performance Appraisals may be the most utterly useless exercise that humans indulge in.
In corporate jargon, goals need to be “S.M.A.R.T”, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. New Year Resolutions are, in contrast, “D.U.M.B” (Distant, Unclear, Malleable, Bullshit). Giving yourself the long leash of a year to become a better, fitter, prettier, healthier, richer person (or whatever else you desire to be) is a self con.
We are all perfect, rational, healthy, smart, pretty, and happy people in the future. But who will get us there if not our present self who is out to self-delude?! Truth is that we do not treat our future selves too well. In fact we treat them quite badly not just through active mistreatment of ourselves (gluttony, over-spending, too much drinking, laziness, procrastination…) but also by bumping responsibility for saving, getting fit, losing weight, being [truly] happy on to them. So in some sense, our interests are competing with our future selves.
Ergo, remember that your competition isn’t your co-worker, fight partner, classmate, boss, spouse, kids….IT IS YOU!
Go with daily goals, even weekly goals but no longer. Benchmark yourself, compete with yourself. A personal example: for the past 15-16 years, my specific goal has been to see myself as the fittest I have ever been. This helps me to a) work on improving myself continually; and b) realize that I cannot rest on my achievements since there is tomorrow to think about. With some effort, this goal has been mostly realized. I may or may not be able to outrun the average 18 year old today but I can certainly outrun my 18 year old self (and the others who followed) if he were to come Back To The Future. For this I cannot pat my own back; I have that 18 year old and his successors to thank for the sacrifices they made and the hard work they put in for their future self, me.
This new years (months, weeks, days, and moments) fight yourself and your laziness, set goals that compare you with you, and mind incrementalism:
Positive Incrementalism Negative Incrementalism
Drops maketh the ocean, each Paisa the Crore, Milligrams the KG, and Steps the Marathon.