It’s that time of the year again. Time to decide whether or not we’ll make resolutions, given the huge blank slate in front of us. I go through phases with resolutions. This year I’m in an I-don’t-need-to-make-any phase (although I do have a small one to use less paper towels). I’m not making any major resolutions this year because I’m never not working on a goal, and also because I feel that I’m on track to achieving the ones I’ve set for this phase of my life.
your dreams will not come true if you’re not doing anything to make them come true
As I’ve racked up more and more years of life, and have seen the funny ways life tends to unfold, I’ve come to realize and internalize a very important and obvious truth: your dreams will not come true if you’re not doing anything to make them come true. I remember being a kid, thinking about where I might be by age 20 or 30, and the possibilities feeling endless because those milestones seemed so far away. I think at one point, when I was really young, I planned on retiring by 30 and it seemed doable because 30 was years away; my life would evolve and, even though I couldn’t see how, I’d somehow get to the point where I had accumulated enough wealth to stop working at the ripe old age of 30, lol. But goals that are attached to a distant age or point in time can be dangerous. The further out you are from that age, the more you think it’ll just happen on its own and you don’t have to do anything today for it because you have five, 10, or 20 years to get there and life will just happen. But life does and doesn’t just happen.Your dreams will not come true if you're not doing anything to make them come true Click To Tweet
Life happens in the sense that there’s so much stuff happening around you, so many institutions and social structures that move you even if you remain relatively still. For example, you go through all the steps of basic schooling because it’s illegal not to go to school; when you’re young your parents and their decisions shape a good portion of your life. So there’s movement there; certain milestones are hit. But unless you’re playing an active role in the shape of your life, that movement won’t lead you to anywhere particularly meaningful. Unless you’re taking steps to get to a particular destination you’ll be moving but not going anywhere.
Last year I had a small goal of taking better care of my hair to get it to grow more in a year. I did absolutely nothing to work toward that goal. Hence, I haven’t even bothered with a length check. I can rattle off a ton of examples of stuff that I said I’d achieve but never really worked at, but I prefer to look at the stuff I did achieve. A couple days ago I found myself kind of amazed that reading Le Monde and understanding it is an uneventful part of my morning routine. But thinking about it more, it actually feels quite magical that it is. Back in 2010 I made a goal to quit my job and move to Paris in two years and I did just that. Once I did that, my goal was to learn French and run a self-sustaining business. The idea of actually doing both of those things was crazy and it was hard to imagine them both being a part of my everyday life, but my French has gotten to the point where I rarely get responses in English anymore, and I’m getting closer and closer to reaching the second goal (touch wood). And I think looking at these very material things, looking at where I am now, I can honestly say none of these things just happened. They’re both a product of decisions I made and steps I took to get here (my Paris post goes into that). And I think that moment in 2010 when I stopped looking at what I wanted as something distant and instead as something that I can have in the very near future, things really changed. I started approaching each day differently, knowing that the choices I made and things I did each day (even though they might not seem like much) would eventually accumulate into something bigger.Wanting something means being willing to work for it Click To Tweet
This year I’m most certainly not setting any hair growth goals. Because I know better. I know that wanting something means being willing to work for it, and being able to answer the question “what am I going to do today to get me closer to it.” When it comes to my hair, I just can’t. I’m still too lazy to make an effort. But when it comes to my business, answering that question is easy. The answer today is I’m writing this post and reading an article in French about the Indian supreme court re-evaluating penalizing homosexuality.