Success is a side effect of the things you do every day. I could probably end it there, but stay with me and let me expand on that statement. I've been there, I still am there, dreaming of a better life for me and my small, but growing family. I've always dreamt of a better life, a better house, better car, the freedom to work when I want, where I want and how I want. Of course, only a few things have panned out since I started dreaming. One thing that hasn't changed over the past decade of dreams are the lofty "goals" themselves. I've learned something recently, that I hadn't put into words and wanted to write down if you're struggling with this too.
The difference between dreams, goals and streaks
Dreams are the things I think, the things I want, the things that seem unattainable and they largely are. Wanting to become a millionaire is such a weird abstract idea that going from salaried employee to millionaire in any amount of time through any path is very unlikely. It's unlikely for a variety of reasons, chief among them is how much randomness, chaos, or luck will be involved in that dream coming true. I had quite a few problems with goal setting for a long time: I want to buy a house by this time, have a wife by this point, travel the world soon, the list went on. The problem with my goals was that they still didn't have a clear path from a -> b, and even if they did, it was hard to see how I was going to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. However, if I change my approach to streaks and focus instead on concrete actionable things I am in control of: working out every day, writing a blog post and sharing it every day, shipping code every day, those are "1%" (as a friend of mine likes to say) every day things that add up in the aggregate and make the whole much more than the sum of its parts. The funny part about streaking 😏 is that it's kind of fun, and light hearted and it's also really easy. A few minutes maybe an hour a day on the things I want to do that day and I'm done, there's nothing else to do but enjoy the rest of my day. In contrast to the stress I've experienced of not doing anything and not getting closer to my goals, where every day if I didn't work on something for hours, I would feel like I hadn't accomplished much of anything. The really great thing about small, daily things is that when you get something really small done to start, you feel great. 10 push ups today, 11 tomorrow and you've made real progress, unlike working out hard, getting sore and slacking off the rest of the week. Streaks also don't have to have an end goal in mind, you can just keep on streaking and have fun each day without a larger goal and just let serendipity do its thing.
Design your day not your life
The important thing to take away from this is that once I focused on designing my ideal, routine day instead of my ideal life, things started getting better, I was less stressed and way more productive. I've been getting 7 things done every week, where before I might do 1 huge thing and then nothing the next. Breaking things up into small chunks is definitely a skill you acquire over time, but it can be learned, even from someone as scatter brained as I am. So, do yourself a favor, don't set new year's resolutions in 2019, just think about how you want your day to go tomorrow and think about the smallest thing that you need to do just for the day, and once it's done, you're done, enjoy the rest of your day, rest up and prepare yourself to meet your daily goal tomorrow.