I have been thinking a lot lately about the planning fallacy. This is the tendency that most people have to underestimate how much time their goals will take. Interestingly, this only really applies to tasks that we are trying to accomplish ourselves, rather than to tasks we are observing others work on.

Here is a link to a description of the planning fallacy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planning_fallacy

Yes, it is wikipedia, haha.

In my own life, I know that I have underestimated how long my goals will take repeatedly. Whether it is studying for a test or working on a musical project, I tend to assume that the best possible case scenario is the default scenario.

One way to overcome the planning fallacy is to ask others how long similar goals or projects have taken them. We are more like other people than we tend to assume. (That has been my experience at least.) So, if you have a friend who trained for a marathon, or finished a creative project, it is probably best to ask them how long it took them (in reality) than how long you'd like to task to take, in your own idealized scenario. The most you can draw on real world experiences, your own or others', the better of a sense you'll have for a realistic timeline.

For my New Year's Goals, I definitely have some longer and more complicated projects. I am going to try to be as realistic as possible about the timeline these will require for completion. At the same time, I want to be ambitious and try to work with a sense of purpose towards these goals.

Another strategy I'll try to use is to break more complicated projects into subgoals. I think this will help me stay on track because it is more difficult to underestimate the time a project will take if you are really specific about the intermediate steps that need to be taken.

A lot of this is common sense, but applying common sense to real life does take a little bit of mindfulness.

Anyway, I am taking the planning fallacy as a reminder to be more realistic and grounded in my approach to my long-term goals.

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Updated: Dec 18, 2021

I am a bit of a self improvement junkie, so like a lot of people I am looking forward to starting 2022 strong with some creative and personal goals.

In November of 2021, I had the chance to record some new music in collaboration with Nick Colbert, who lists his music as Kalimocho. I recommend checking out his music here!

My most recent EP can be found here.

One of my main goals for next year is to record new music and to collaborate with artists in Austin. I am especially looking to improve my keyboard skills and technical skills with recording music at home.

I haven't been performing live in several years, so I am taking steps to get some new performances on the calendar in winter and spring of this year.

Picking New Year's Goals & Keeping them under my hat

I think it's tempting to pick goals that seem impressive or virtuous, rather than goals that are really important to us as individuals. At the same time, I have found that I actually tend to have more success and motivation when I pick big audacious goals rather than little tweeks. To be honest, I find the little tweeks kind of boring and I am a bit of an extremist.

I have also noticed that I am less likely to achieve goals that I share publicly, so I am keeping my specific big audacious goals secret. Here is an article that supports my theory. Basically, sharing your goals gives your brain a false sense of having already achieved them. It's an unfortunate cognitive quirk of humans.

What I will share is that I have chosen a one word theme for the year. The word is "prolific."

There is research showing that people who commit to producing a higher volume of creative work tend to improve a lot quicker than those who labor intensely on just one project. This is a bit counter intuitive if you are used to thinking about quality over quantity. With this in mind, I am really focusing on putting out a big volume of creative work this year. It's my number one priority.

Subgroups of Goals

In order to stay organized, I am going to categorize my goals into subgroups. The subgroups I have chosen are...

1) Creativity (The Most Important Category this Year)

2) Relationships and Fun

3) Health and Fitness Challenges

4) Personal Development (Continuing Education, Mindfulness, Productivity)

5) Giving Back to the Community

I think breaking the goals into groups will help remind me that I shouldn't put all my effort into one aspect of my life. In order to have a balanced, fulfilling life, I'll need to focus on all these aspects throughout the year.

I'm feeling optimistic about 2022 and looking to make some major changes in my life, while keeping up what's already working for me.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!