Every year on New Years Day I spend a few hours thinking through what matters to me, and what I want to achieve during the year ahead.
As a naturally ambitious person, I’ve always set goals for each new year. When I was younger the goal was to push myself (and the boundaries) to see how much I could achieve. I’m glad that I had that youthful urgency, as it’s led to a life that I am grateful to live today.
But as I face the beginning of 2020 – a new year, and a new decade – I can feel that my old desperate, impatient ways are not needed anymore.
Perhaps it’s the maturity of turning 40 or the fact that last year I accomplished a lot of goals that I’d been aiming towards for years. Either way, moving into 2020, I need a new approach to my plans, goals, and dreams.
This year, and moving into the new decade I want to take a slower, more deliberate approach to my life.
What has become clear to me is that quality takes time and that you can’t hurry large scale success in any area of your life. Instead, it requires a slow, steady, almost tedious uphill climb. One day, one week, one year at a time.
The greatest benefit of taking things slower, I believe, is that I can begin to enjoy the view along the way. I’ve always had a bad habit of dismissing or devaluing what I have because my eye is on the next thing.
As I wrote about after reading The Infinite Game, I can now see that life (and the legacy we leave) is a lot longer than we realize. The desire to rush for rewards can be motivating, but it’s not fulfilling.
So what does this mean for me?
Moving into the new year I still have goals. I am working on improving my habits. I am still excited to achieve my dreams. But now, I understand that it’s a slow climb. I don’t expect (nor want) immediate results. I am not disappointed or demotivated if I don’t ‘make it’ in conventional terms anytime soon. Instead, I am focused on doing what makes me better than I was yesterday.
Life is much longer than we realize. And nothing worth doing is easy. A slow climb to your own mountain peak is the best way I know to feel alive.
I hope you join me on the journey.