Last Updated on November 30, 2023

What are your goals for 2024?

It’s almost that time again…

Time to set some goals for the new year!

I love goal-setting.

It’s fun to fantasize about all the things I could accomplish, if I had perfect willpower and boundless energy and nothing else whatsoever on my plate.

Reality is not as much fun!

The Old Way of Setting Goals

I’ve been setting goals for years.

And I’ve learned a lot through the process of failing at many of my goals.

Such that I now think about goals very differently than most people.

Last year I gave a free goal-setting workshop, which is up on my YouTube channel.

In that video, I explain that most people think of goals in what I call The Naive Goal Model:

  1. Make a plan
  2. Follow the plan
  3. Success!

This is “naive” because it almost never works this way!

Especially when we’re trying to do something entirely new.

Usually our plans don’t exactly match reality.

And often we struggle to actually follow through with them.

Even when we can follow the plan exactly, often it doesn’t give us the success we were hoping for.

And worse, when we actually accomplish our outcomes, we sometimes don’t even feel happy or fulfilled!

So every aspect of the Naive Goal Model has problems.

The New Way of Setting Goals

To fix the problems with the Naive Goal Model, I came up with a new model.

I call it The Reality-Based Goal Model.

It goes something like this:

Set a goal, brainstorm experiments, run the experiments, learn from “failed” experiments (including failing to do them), iterate based on what you learned, maybe adapt the goal, repeat.

This way of thinking comes from design.

In fact, there is a whole field called Design Thinking.

When we are designing solutions to problems that haven’t ever been solved before, we go through a non-linear creative process.

I think goals are more like this.

We are literally designing our lives.

Design Your Life

The Naive Goal Model is more like implementing a known solution to a known problem.

So it’s like is a recipe.

That’s great if you have exactly the right ingredients and the same exact kitchen as the person who wrote the recipe.

And also the same taste buds as the person who liked the result!

But if you are even slightly different, it might not turn out as you expect.

It’s also just more fun to get creative.

That’s how all recipes were invented in the first place!

You are an experiment of one.

If you want to improve your life, take some time this next few weeks to think about what you want to create in your life.

Maybe it all happens in 2024 as planned.

Or maybe you learn a lot in the process of going for it.

Either way is wonderful!

What if just pursuing the goal lead you to a better place, even if you “failed” to accomplish what you originally set out to do?

What if growth and learning was the whole point anyway?

Take care,
~Duff