The beginning of the new year is a natural Schelling Point and swiftly approaching. With that in mind I have created a handy go-to list of things worth considering for next year.
Alongside this process; another thing you might like to do is conduct a review of this year, confirming your progress on major goals; double checking that you are on track. and conduct any last-minute summaries of potential failures or learning-cases.
This list is designed to be used for imagination, opportunity, and potential planning purposes. If you find yourself having the feelings of (disappointment, failure, fear, regret, burdens, guilt and others) reconsider looking at this list and instead do something that will not lead to negative feelings about the future. If you are not getting something positive out of doing this exercise, don't. That's a silly idea. I am banking on the fact that it will be more helpful than not; for most people. If you are in the category of people that it does not help - I am sorry; I assume you know your priorities and are working on them as reasonably effectively as possible - good luck with that task.
This list is going to look a bit like my List of common human goals because it was written concurrenlty with the ideas listed there (and by the same person).
You might want a pen and paper; and 10 minutes to go through this list and consider what things you want to do over the next year that fall into these categories. This time is not for you to plan out an entire year, but something of a chance to consider the playing field of "a year of time". After you have a list of things you want to do; there are lots of things you can do with them. i.e. time planning, research, goal factoring, task-generating.
without further ado; the list:
1. things I might want to study or learn next year
Often people like learning. Are you thinking of higher level study? Or keen to upskill? Thinking of picking up a textbook (our list of best textbooks on every subject) on a topic. Or joining a learning group for a skill
2. life goals I would like to have completed by next year
Do you already have a list of life goals? Should you review them and do you want to particularly work on one over the next year? Is something overdue? Is there something you have been putting off starting?
3. health goals
Are there health targets that you let get away from you this year? Are you looking to set future health targets? Start new habits for the year? beeminder suggests setting actionable goals as beeminding tasks, i.e. "eat carrots today" rather than targets "lose 1kg this month".
4. savings I want to achieve by next year.
Do you want to save money towards something? You need a budget has a free course on getting ahead of the paycheck cycle, pocketbook can also help you manage your money. The best advice seems to be to open a savings account and initiate automatic transactions each week of $n. After several weeks (provided you don't pull money out) you will have accrued several*n dollars of savings. (relevant to people who have a tendency to spend any money in their account at any given time. It's a bit harder to spend money not in your spending-account) In any case; having savings and putting it towards owning a passive income stream is a good goal to have or consider getting in on.
This post may also be of use.
5. job/earning goals
Are you planning to get a new job? Hoping to get a raise? transfer to a new department? work less hours? work more hours? land a few big gigs? While I can't tell you what is worthwhile; it's worth knowing that in the process of interviewing for a new job - you should ask for more pay. for that 5-10 uncomfortable minutes of your life (asking for a raise) you have the potential to earn $5-10 thousand dollars more (or more) for the exact same work.
6. relationship goals + family goals
Married; Kids; Poly; single->not transition; break-up? Divorce? moving away from your parents? Getting better Friends? Thanking your current friends for being so awesome? Doing something different to previously - now is the chance to give it a few minutes thought. There's never a good time to stage a break-up but also living in a bad state of affairs is also not a good thing to prolong. (Disclaimer: before quitting a relationship; first improve communication, if needed contact a professional counsellor)
About families and friends - A lot of people feel like their family holds a stronger bond than their friends by default. For an excellent family that is supportive in your darkest hour that is an excellent situation to be in. However for a burdensome family that drags you down; often it can be hard to get away. In contrast to friends; where good ones can be better than family and bad ones can be walked away from. Specifically what's worth considering is that friends OR family can be a result of how you choose to treat them. in the sense that if you have a preference that your friends be stronger than the strongest family ties then you can carry that into reality and achieve friendships to the envy of most families, and the same goes for a strong supportive family. Your choice of what shape of reality you want to make for yourself will influence (on some levels) what sort of mess you get yourself into, and what sort of support network you have around. Make that consideration over the next year of what sort of friendships and families you want to make for yourself and keep for yourself.
7. lifestyle goals
Start exercising daily (do you even lift)? Quitting smoking? Do you go clubbing too often? maybe you want to get out more? Addicted to curry puffs? Hate hanging out with that group of friends? Don't like going to pub trivia but do it anyway? Too many doughnuts? Go hiking? Thinking of trying out a new hobby? holding out for "the right time". take that leap, sign up for a class. Now is the time to make lifestyle changes. (fair warning: most new year's resolutions fail, look into SMART goals)
8. holiday goals/ travelling goals
looking at doing a month-long holiday? Visiting someone in another place? Maybe consider planning from now. Studies have shown that anticipation and putting energy towards planning positive things leads to happiness (in the journey) the ability to look forward to your next holiday is going to have positive impacts on the way you live.
Have you had intention to make donations but haven't made the plunge? Maybe put some thought into how much you might like to donate and when/where to? Many LW'ers are also EA's and have interests in motivated and purposeful giving for maximising possible outcomes. This could be an opportunity to join the group of EA's that are actively giving.
Have you always wanted to volunteer but never looked into it? Maybe next year is the year to try. Put some research in and find a group in need of volunteers. Volunteering has the potential to give you a lot of positive feelings as well as a sense of community; being part of something bigger, and more.
You could stop here but there are a few more. Out of the more general List of common human goals comes the following list of other areas to consider. They are shorter in description and left open to imagination than those above.
Is next year your chance to exact revenge on your foes?
12. Virtual reality success
Is next year the chance to harvest your gemstones?
Is next year the year to get addicted (to something healthy or good for you, like exercise), or un-addicted (to something unhealthy for you)?
Are there things you want to do next year which will leave you as a representative of a group? Is there a way to push that forward? Or better prepare for that event?
15. Help others?
Do you know how you might go about helping others next year?
16. Keeping up with the joneses
Are you competing with anyone? Is there something you are likely to need to prepare for throught the year?
Are you looking for feedback from others? Are you looking to give feedback to others? Is this the year for new feedback?
Do you want to influence the public?
Do you want to achieve some level of fame? We live in a realm of the internet! You wouldn't believe how easy that is these days...
20. being part of something greater
Joining a movement? Helping to create a revolution? This could be the year...
21. Improve the tools available
As scientists we stand on the shoulders of the knowledge before us in order to grow. We need sharp tools to make accurate cuts and finely tuned instruments to make exact measurements. Can you help the world by pushing that requirement forward?
22. create something new
Is there something new that you want to do; is next year appropriate for doing it?
23. Break a record
Have your eye on a record? How are you going to make it happen?
24. free yourself of your shackles
Are there things holding you back or tying you down? Can you release those burdens?
hoping to have a new experience, can you make it happen with thinking about it in advance?
Want to have developed a creation? Can you put wheels into motion?
Anything from a religion based spiritual appreciation to a general appreciation of the universe. Revel in the "merely real" of our universe.
about 2.5 hours of writing plus feedback from the https://complice.co/room/lesswrong room and the Slack channel
If you are looking for some common ways to work on these possible goals? That sounds like a great title for the next post in a matching series (one I have not written yet). If you want to be a munchkin and start compiling thoughts on the idea, feel free to send me a message with a link to a google doc, otherwise you might have to wait. This post was written out of necessity for the new-year, and wasn't on my to-do list so the next one might take time to create.
Feel free to comment on goals; plans; progress or post your plans for the next year below.
If you can see improvements to this post - don't be afraid to mention them!
To see more posts I have written see my Table of contents