It's that time of the year when you see a lot of public commitments to 'goals'. I think one cool thing is more and more material is made about this as time goes on. Every year someone seems to have new ideas or thoughts that build upon previous works. To me, this proves there is no one right way and you need to figure out what works for you. It may be a combination of a bunch of stuff.
I've done a lot of different variations on goals and I still change them up. I can't fully leave goals but sometimes I kind of hate them. I do agree habits and systems are critical. On the other hand, having no goals for me feels too strange.
It is also ironic to me some goals might not get you what you wanted. There is this quote that gets attributed to various authors:
When you get to the top of the ladder you may find it is propped against the wrong wall.
I had that and continue to have that feeling a lot. It is hard to pinpoint one 'why' perhaps you go for something because it's more of what others wanted for you rather than you. Or maybe truly you thought doing 'x' would get you to where you wanted to be but it turns out that is not it. Even if you find yourself in this position you gained some experience and wisdom and can shift your course.
Similar to software development personally I like to work inside the idea of releases. It is up to you how long to define a release there is a popular book the 90 day year by Todd Herman but for me, it feels too long. Perhaps for you, it is just right. It is trial and error until you find what you want.
Whatever way you go about this I think these three ideas are critical to however you define success:
1) Be kind to yourself.
2) Less is more.
3) Don't fear change.
Be your best coach, friend, mentor you can be to yourself. Fuck the negative self-talk it does no good. Pretend you are talking to a dear friend or child struggling and how would you deal with that scenario? If you fail learn from it and get back up and try again. No need to beat yourself up for failing. Ambition and dreams are awesome but in my opinion, less is more in terms of the number of 'things' your working on. You could probably do better chasing 5 things over a shorter cycle than attempting 100 goals. Finally, don't be stubborn if something is not working or if you realize you no longer want to pursue your goal. Just because you wrote something down or invested time/money in some way if it is not working change it up. Don't hold on just because.
If you only remember one thing to take away remember this and avoid it:
The only way you really fail is if you quit.
Failure is not the end, bad results are not the end, keep going and getting yourself off the ground. You can do whatever it is you desire.