Have you ever wondered why most of your new year resolutions don't work out? You are not alone. I certainly belong to this unfortunate tribe. Stephen Duneier has been amazingly successful in tackling this issue and I'd like to share with you some inspiration that I got from his TED talk. He describes himself as someone who cannot focus on anything for longer than 5 minutes. But he is the biggest achiever I have ever seen: hedge fund manager, installation artist, entrepreneur (consulting firm), and lecturer (decision-making). Really, he got it all. Any secret sauce? Breaking each goal into bite-size pieces and making incremental progress regularly. Psychologically it makes sense. When we set up a big goal, it seems too overwhelming to start doing something about it. When will I ever find time to learn a new language or how to code? This "overwhelming" prospect of the goal sets us up for a failure. But if you get a habit of using a small chunk of time in tackling each goal, it is quite easy to implement. Ever since I got a job in New York, I have been reading quite a number of books on my Kindle device during train rides. Twenty-minute reading a day for four days a week gives me enough time to finish a book in two months on average. Although I could not put my fingers on why I have been quite happy with my long commute, learning new perspectives from books must explain this counter-intuitive love for the commute, which my colleagues find very odd. To really test this idea, I started spending 10 minutes a day in learning French at duolingo.com. I learned French during my high school years but never reached a high proficiency that allows me to have a conversation in French. Being such a low commitment-only 10 minutes a day- makes it so easy to stick to this daily practice. I'm having fun and rarely skipped a daily practice for a month! Now that I have realized the best recipe for achieving personal goals, it is time for me to embark on a journey, where I learn new things and forge a new path that aligns my strength and career better. I have a faith that perseverance always wins the race. And we don't have to wait until our retirement years to do the things that we have always wanted to do.
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