I thought work was tough... health, diet and exercise are even more difficult to whittle down to a universal set of goals. What do you think of these?
Work is a tough one for goals. Is getting a raise really something you'd like to check off your life checklist? Do you really regret not having an updated resume when you're on your death bed? We are focusing our work-related goals on having a form of work that fulfills you. What do you think of these?
We're spoiled over at the Robot Co-op regarding work though. Tell us what your work goals are, especially if you think they can be applied to all people as things that are worth doing before you die.
Can you prioritize these life categories in the order that is most important to you? Will you?
My order is: 3, 4, 6, 8, 5, 7, 9, 1, 2
When it comes to money goals, there are lots of potential sources of inspiration. There are shelves full of books promising to teach you all you need to know about money in 7 steps or offering 12 steps to a better financial future. One of the better lists came from Scott Adams in the form of Dilbert's Unified Theory of everything financial. Another influence on us was the curiously straight-talking debt guru Dave Ramsey who has a list of "Baby Steps" to getting your finances in order.
So with many revisions and lots of conversation, the Robots of the Robot Co-op have come up with six money goals that we think we can recommend to everyone. As usual, we'd love to hear suggestions for additions or revisions. Here they are:
The 43 Things Money challenge
1. track everything I spend for a week
2. save $1,000 in an emergency fund
3. pay off my credit cards
4. live within 80% of my income
5. save 6 months of living expenses
6. make a plan for financial independence
What do you think? Next up? Career & Work - we need suggestions!
In fear of the perfect becoming the enemy of the good, we've decided to push out our first draft list of goals for an extraordinary life - starting in the field of travel. We came up with 10 goals we thought might be so worth doing that everyone should do them. What do you think? We'd love suggestions on other travel related goals that everyone should do - and if you think our list has some bogus stuff on it, we'd like to hear that as well.
The 43 Things Travel Challenge
1. make a list of up to 43 places I want to visit
2. get a passport
3. leave my country at least once a year
4. leave my city at least once a month
5. homestay with a local instead of a hotel
6. go on a seven day (or longer) roadtrip
7. live abroad for at least 6 months
8. learn a foreign language
9. eat my favorite food in the place where it originated
10. visit six continents
Next up, Money goals!
It started in the early 1970s, following a terrible television accident that left astronaut Steve Austin a man barely alive. "We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger...faster."
Let's update that for the 21st century.
To celebrate the return of Mutual Improvement we are kicking off a new effort we are calling: "How am I doing?"™ Our goal is not to turn you into a bionic freak addled with technology (though that sounds pretty cool). Our goal is much simpler - we want to create a system that will let you quickly measure where you are, where you want to go, and make a plan for getting there.
And we are inviting you to help us create it. After a round of brainstorming and lots of time reviewing the most popular goals on 43 Things, we came up with an initial list of 12 categories:
Our thought is, to build a system that lets you assess "How you are doing?"™ in each of these 12 categories as well as indicate which areas are of the greatest importance to you. Based on that data - we'll generate a list of goals that have been recommended by users to help people make progress in that area. After measuring whether you've accomplished the goals or not, we'll have a sense of where you are, and make a set of recommendations on goals that might get you ready for the new year.
What do you think? We'd love to hear what you think of the 12 categories -- are there some you'd combine, delete, or add? Do you think the users on 43 Things can pitch in to create lists of recommended goals in each of these areas? We'd love some feedback on the ideas behind "How am I doing?".
If you were looking for a thinker who took habits seriously, you could do worse than taking a look at William James. This 19th century father of American psychology went so far as to say "We are mere bundles of habits."
If we want to understand what drives human behavior, James argued we would do well to ascribe most actions to the force of habit: "Ninety-nine hundredths or, possibly, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousandths of our activity is purely automatic and habitual, from our rising in the morning to our lying down each night." The habits we form early shape our destiny, reasoned James. "We are stereotyped creatures, imitators and copiers of our past selves."
William James was an original and influential thinker. He was interested in how we might put the role of habit to work to improve our lives and better our condition. He saw in habit no meager force - but rather one of the strongest means to rework our lives. "Habit is second nature," wrote James, "or rather, ten times nature."
Habits and Education
As an educator himself, as well as a philosopher and psychologist, James saw many ways the force of habit could be put to work in education. "It is very important that teachers should realize the importance of habit." "The teacher's prime concern should be to ingrain into the pupil that assortment of habits that shall be most useful to him throughout life. Education is for behavior, and habits are the stuff of which behavior consists."
James saw in youth several opportunities for the force of habit to improve the conduct of life. He believed the minds of the young were more "plastic" and easier to mold: "Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state." Unlike education today, James wasn't interested in filling these plastic minds with facts that could be regurgitated on standardized tests. Instead, his concern was with shaping the conduct of a good life. "We must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can."
While William James certainly accorded a special power to youth in forming habits, he was unequivocal that it was never too late to get started. "New habits" assured James, "can be launched." He even suggested some tips:
1. Start strong: "In the acquisition of a new habit, or the leaving off of an old one, we must take care to launch ourselves with as strong and decided an initiative as possible."
2. Build momentum: "Seize the very first possible opportunity to act on every resolution you make, and on every emotional prompting you may experience in the direction of the habits you aspire to gain."
3. Make friends with the hard stuff: "Do every day or two something for no other reason than its difficulty."
4. No exceptions, at least at first: "Never suffer an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted in your life."
Breaking old habits (or forming new ones) is not easily done. Better to start right when you are young - but if you don't have that possibility, James' tips suggest we'd do well to be scrupulous about how we start our new habitual efforts. And since it is not easy, quit looking for it to get easier. "Every good that is worth possessing" counseled William James, "must be paid for in strokes of daily effort."