Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
There are many versions of this quote and it is attributed to multiple individuals. In most circles, this version of the quote is attributed to Bill Gates.
The basic thinking idea is that we’re woefully inadequate planners and need to re-calibrate our thinking as we plan. I often have this challenge as I think through my own goals and objectives. I need to consider the assumptions I make as I plan and make new goals.
What we need is balance between today and tomorrow. A balance between living today to our fullest…and considering the cool stuff we could do in the future.
Thinking about today
In planning and goal setting, we often approach this from a question about “what do I need to do today?”
The challenge in this perspective is that we often allow our tasks to dictate our days. Instead of following what excites us, we keep slogging away at a to do list.
At the beginning of the day we may be excited to jump up out of bed and get going. By the end of the day, you’re probably exhausted from getting things done, or you’re confronted by another 400 things added to your to do list.
One of the things that has become increasingly obvious in my life and those around me is that these behaviors are ultimately not good for our mental and physical health.
To seek balance, identify times to work on projects for a small amount of time to bring you joy. Take time for the short walk. Phone a friend. Play a short video game. Read. Listen to that podcast. Wash the dishes.
Most importantly….stop overscheduling.
Thinking about tomorrow
The awesome thing is that we have a lot of tomorrows in front of us. These are all opportunities for new paths and to reinvent yourself.
At first, engaging in a big project of area of change may seem impossibly big. You feel a bit crazy or even delusional to even think about this endeavor. I believe you should not only contemplate them, but you should take time in the day to plan and envision your new future.
Sooner than you may think, these challenges and achievements are within your grasp. You need to be mentally ready for them.
Before you know it, you’ll look back and what you initially thought we gigantic changes in reality seem very small and quaint.
One of the best things that you can do with your time and your future is change. You can reinvent yourself. I’ve done it multiple times. It’s not that bad.
Chunking your life
To make this a reality, think of your life in chunks. These chunks may be years, months, or a shorter timeframe.
Consider a project or experiment that you would like to focus on for a couple of months or a year. I don’t include longer-term goals or “things I’m supposed to do.”
Think of something you want to do with an achievable, observable outcome. This could include learning how to refinish furniture, run a marathon, cook thai food.
Alternatively, I really like short, 30-day challenges. These a smaller opportunities to change behaviors and establish new practices. This could include drinking 8 glasses of water a day or journaling every day.
This could also include shorter terms goals or challenges that last a couple of days. This could involve an opportunity to bring a small win from one day to the next.
These goals and objectives may change daily, but by engaging in different challenges, and thinking about your life in chunks, you have the opportunity to pay attention to the things that matter.
I really value this comic from SMBC.