Can you make 2024 the year of real change? Yes – avoid these 6 traps.

Wish you a very happy new year. 🙂

You probably want to make 2024 different. But haven’t we tried that in the past? How can this year be different?

Here is my simple answer – this time around, avoid the usual traps we keep falling into every year. Just do that, and you will automatically hit your goals. 

And here are the traps to avoid:

Trap 1: Setting sky-high goals

When we set goals, it feels amazing because goal-setting takes zero effort. 

For example, you set the goal of scaling Mount Everest this year. Did you feel any fatigue? Did your legs feel exhausted? Not at all. 

But when you start the training with a 20-kilometer uphill trek, within the first hour, you might feel like giving up. 

So why did we make the mistake of setting such an unrealistic goal? Because we had no idea what it’s like to walk uphill, with a 20 kg backpack. 

To make your goals realistic, do this: If possible, take the required action for a day or two (it is like test-driving your plan). Now, knowing how hard or easy it is, you are less likely to set unrealistic goals. 

Trap 2: Missing the trees for the forest

When thinking about making 2024 different, remember that we don’t act on a scale of one year – we take action every day. 

So here is my strong advice: Don’t worry about 2024. Instead, think on the scale of one day. 

Don’t try to make 2024 different. Instead, try to make each day different. And when most of your days are productive and meaningful, 2024 will automatically fall in place.

Trap 3: Not accepting the real journey 

When a goal makes us feel amazing, we want the journey also to be amazing. 

I recall setting the goal of getting into the Civil Services, and I was imagining how beautiful it would be to land as an officer trainee at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy in the pristine hills of Mussoorie. It was a beautiful dream, and no less in reality! 

But when the dream is beautiful, we sometimes expect the journey to also be fun. That is almost never true. The journey is the journey – some days it is fun, some days boring, and some days just plain hard. 

No matter what it is, you walk every day. Don’t allow excuses. 

And by the way, even the seemingly tedious work is not that bad – you will experience a lot of micro-rewards on the way. 

For example, as a consultant, when I used to spend all my days making presentations, sometimes, I was able to connect some dots, bring out a small insight, or create a nice slide – that itself was quite gratifying! 

When you start enjoying the micro rewards, you’ll enjoy the journey, and the destination will follow. 

Trap 4: Waiting for the perfect moment (i.e., tomorrow)

Another trap is waiting for the perfect time/mood/plan/alignment of stars to start taking action. You might even rationalize – “Tomorrow, I will start in full earnest, intensely, when I have complete clarity.” No – do it today. 

Let your action be clumsy, not-so-thoughtful, and imperfect – that’s ok. But do it today, not tomorrow. Tomorrow – we will see tomorrow. 

For every big goal I have achieved, the path has never been 100% clear from the beginning – things became clear only once I started moving forward. 

Trap 5: Looking for that magical motivation

I won’t give a motivational talk, as its effect will last only till lunch (or dinner). 🤗

Instead, I suggest making everything a process. I wrote about it in this newsletter.

And if you’re lacking motivation to even get started, ask yourself, “Why did I pick up this goal? What will it do for me?” 

Furthermore, for every small progress, give yourself a pat on the back. Learn to cherish the internal rewards (your pat on the back) more than external validations and rewards.

Trap 6: Trying to change too many things, all at once

The last trap is pretty obvious. To avoid it, don’t think like a machine gunner, but like a sniper with just one bullet left – better to shoot one target and hit it, than trying to hit two and missing both. 

Do fewer things. But do them.

These are the traps to avoid. But even when we are aware of them, they will keep luring so. So keep reminding yourself of this danger. 

If you and I can avoid these traps, we can genuinely make 2024 different. Let us do it. 

If you have any feedback or thoughts, hit reply and let me know. 

Once again, have a wonderful 2024!

Rajan

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