Here’s What You Should Be Doing Instead Of Setting Goals

Goals spread in a journal

Photo: Alexa Williams

We’re halfway through the year already. How are your New Year’s goals doing?

It seems about the right time to check in now, isn’t it? You get to take stock of how you’ve done, and you still have time to re-steer the ship if things haven’t gone according to plan.

If you find that you haven’t even started on goals however, just know that you’re not alone. According to a random study I pulled up (and we know the internet never lies), less than eight percent of people actually meet their New Year’s goals.

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NON FICTION: Why Your Goals Might Be Failing You

Typewriter with paper with 'goals' typed on it

Photo: Markus Winkler

I’ve went through life just going through one goal after another. Every time I’d achieved something, I’d just relish it for minutes before moving on to the next one. It took a few tries before I realised that checking things off my bucket list wasn’t as exhilarating as I thought it would be. Then it hit me.

The goals were never the point. The process was.

After all, what good did becoming a salon supervisor do for me? Or becoming a travel writer? Earning my blue belt in jiu-jitsu? Finishing that book? Getting published?

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NON FICTION: Would You Take A Chance On Your Dreams?

Jacket with embroidery saying 'dreamer'

Photo: Rob Walsh

Like many of you, I had no shortage of ambitions growing up, each promising their own little umbrella of possibilities. And if life turned out for you the same way it did for me, these dreams probably petered out and died through the ravages of adulthood.

We’ve probably even shared ambitions as kids: fireman, lawyer, scientist. But as I entered my teenage years, I’d realise that my dreams would take a turn for the grandiose.

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NON FICTION: The Case For Writing One Sentence A Day

Fountain pen and cursive writing

Photo: Alvaro Serrano

Think about getting off your chair right now and doing thirty minutes’ worth of bodyweight exercises. Think about writing a book. Think about picking the salad instead of that pizza you were craving.

Chances are, you probably have a long list of things you’d rather do, and why shouldn’t you? None of those ideas seem like fun, even if they’re already part of your routine.

Yet these are the types of tasks we wish we could do to replace our Netflix binges and nights out drinking. They’re just boring as hell to get started on.

So let me offer you a way out.

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NON FICTION: Can Writing Down Your Goals Make Them Come True?

Goals list and pens

Photo: Isaac Smith

I remember the first time my ex-girlfriend took me to a proper hair salon. It wasn’t something I was ready to do when I was nineteen and broke, but she said she’d pay, so I went.

It was the first time I didn’t get a haircut alongside Old Master Q comics and Japanese hairstyle magazines. They even served tea and actually washed my hair, something I wasn’t used to, having grown up with Indian barbers or those dingy places where the aunts in flip-flops looked more like they belonged on the set of Kung Fu Hustle than at the salon.

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