In the week before Christmas I was invited onto the Entrepreneurs TV show, in a wrap-up program looking back at the world of entrepreneurship in 2018 and forward to what to expect in 2019. The full program can be seen online (note the content has been geo-restricted and cannot be viewed in all countries).
Don’t set New Year’s resolutions
Among the topics for discussion we were asked to share our New Year’s resolutions.
I had to answer that philosophically I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. If you want to do something or change your behavior, you should just do it! There is no need to wait until the end of the year to start.
Moving beyond rigid goals
Personally, I have also de-emphasized setting specific short to medium-term goals in my life.
For me one of the most compelling reasons to be self-employed is that I can wake up in the morning and choose to change my path. Whether it is because I see better opportunities or want to change the character of my life, I can and do often shift my direction, sometimes subtly, sometimes fairly radically.
Committing to specific goals dictates my priorities and actions. I want a more fluid approach to life.
Are you moving forward fast enough?
For years my primary frame has been assessing whether I have ‘sufficient positive momentum’ on my journey. I do have a clear idea of the broad directions I am going, however the paths I choose to get there can change.
If I feel I have what I consider to be sufficient positive momentum then I can relax and fully appreciate what I am doing and experiencing.
Enjoying the journey not the outcome
One of the potential problems of the entrepreneurial path is that however well you are doing, you are motivated to take it even further. Every threshold you reach creates appetite for the next level. All of which creates a feeling that you are never achieving what you want to achieve.
I believe in enjoying life. Being content with what I judge to be sufficient positive momentum on my path means that I can fully enjoy the journey, I don’t need to wait until I have attained an elusive goal which I then promptly reset out of reach.
What is sufficient?
Of course there is no way to quantify ‘sufficient’ positive momentum. Part of the point is that the forward momentum may be coming in ways that you did not anticipate. You might fail to achieve your specific goals yet be making fantastic progress. Or you might achieve your articulated goals but not be achieving what you want to achieve.
At this stage in my life I am happy to leave it to my judgment on whether things are moving fast enough for my taste. Just because they are certainly doesn’t mean I slack off, in fact I find it even more motivating to taking action when things are progressing rapidly. However it is all positive motivation, not driven by trying to get to where I am not.
Choose your own path
I am well aware that what works for me is not necessarily right for others, and I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t set goals and work hard to achieve them.
However there are alternative approaches, and you might consider fully enjoying the delightful now of your journey once you are moving forward at a solid, satisfying pace.
Image: toine Garnier