New Year’s Resolutions, Here We Come!

A “debate” between Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and Tim Ferriss of Four Hour Work Week on the virtues and vices of setting goals. And some things to be wary of as we prepare our New Year’s Resolutions (admit it, you do it, too).

Babauta’s argument is that goals prevent you from living in the now (the familiar journey > destination philosophy). And not only can a fixation on the destination distract you from the journey, it can set you up for failure. After all, most of us never reach the destination!

Ferriss’ argument is that failing to reach the destination is only detrimental if you expect to make it one hundred percent of the way. His advice, paraphrasing Google’s Larry Page, is that rarely do we fail completely — if we aim high enough. So aim high, but expect only to succeed partially.

This year, don’t plot your resolution in a straight line culminating in life-changing success — and where any point along the continuum, if you happen to come up short, equals utter and complete failure.

Instead, think of your resolution as a terrain in which to wander. Start off in a pre-determined direction, sure. But don’t expect to make it all the way to the other side. Better yet, remain open to opportunity along the way, so as not to miss anything by fixating on the destination.