No Goals, No Resolutions, No Fucking KPIs

Goals and KPIs are side-effects of corporate slavery.🤷‍♂️

Goals and KPIs are side-effects of corporate slavery.🤷‍♂️
They are an inheritance of the industrial revolution. Tools to measure factory work, pointless with knowledge work.
They are made up numbers/signposts to please an external entity (either your boss or your future or past selves). They can help you climb ladders and play status games, but they don’t do much for your internal well-being.
Call me unambitious but I quit the corporate rate race earlier this year just so I don’t have to run after made-up numbers.
So thank you, but no thank you🙏

Only Intrinsic Motivation Lasts💪

The human brain isn’t optimized to go after goals.🧠
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t have a goal to hunt 365 wild boars in 365 days. They were focused on what will they hunt the next morning.
How will they cook and eat it with the tribe in the afternoon, and then how will they sing and dance around the bonfire at night.
They **lived in the moment.**😇
That’s how our brain works even today, in 2021.
And in 2022!
That’s why we feel the most joy when we are in flow, coz we are living in the moment, not living in the past or the future.
(That’s also why we are so distracted by the mundane, but can get so sucked into the interesting)
A mundane numerical goal will drain the life out of you till you achieve it, while a project you are intrinsically motivated to work on will give you the energy to do more than you could have ever planned in a spreadsheet.
Even if it doesn’t reach any made-up external numbers!
I want to go after my intrinsic motivation, do work that inspires and energizes me.
Coz that motivation can last a lifetime, while random goals will be meaningless in a year.
Of course, if you derive pleasure from external validation, then go ahead and set more goals.
But know this – the happiness you feel when you “achieve” a goal will only last a few moments, soon enough you’ll be forced to set another goal and restart the whole grind.
And again, that goal will be to please an external entity, not your true present self.

Resolutions Don’t Work🚫

I’m a big believer in habits and processes, and I don’t like resolutions at all.
New Year resolutions are promises made to yourself during the high of a global party, they are bound to be broken the moment the high wears off and the rest of the world goes on with their lives.
And you are left stranded, all alone, drowning in guilt and self-deprecation. While the calendar still reads 13th January.🙄
Yea, been there, done that.
On the contrary, the right habits can change your life.

Habits Changed My Life!✊

My morning routine is precious to me – I Journal, meditate, walk and do Yoga.
Everyday.
But I don’t have a goal of doing them 365 days a year. It’s okay if I miss some days.
It took me a while to build these habits, but they are so intrinsic to my body that I can’t go a couple of days without doing them.
And these habits fuel all of my creative output. They give me energy and inspiration.
So I’m going to double down on them this year, do more evening walks and nightly journals. And see how it goes.

Looking Back and Looking Ahead.

If you’re into goals, resolutions and KPIs, go ahead, I mean no offense to you.
You do You.
I do ME.
We live in peace✌️
Enough with the rant, the point of this post is to reflect on the year gone by and document the work I want to do in 2022.
So let’s get on with it –

2021 – The year when everything changed.

I’ll keep this short.

Things that went well –

  • quit corporate slavery after 11 years earlier this year, and felt like this:
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  • I could do it coz I had built enough skills, experience, and presence on the internet that people would pay me to work for them.⚒️
  • As a freelancer/consultant I’m pretty much a hunter-gatherer on the internet these days. Roaming around Twitter every day, looking for interesting work from interesting people. Work that fulfills me as well as pays the bills.🦉
  • Made plenty of friends on Twitter. The process of building an online presence has meant that I’ve met so many like-minded people. Made new friends after ages🤗
  • I run 3 newsletters now, all for separate audiences. Before 2021 my excuse was I’m a “generalist” and people on the internet want to box you in a niche. So it’s hard for me to build a presence online. Well, I feel like I figured out a way to serve different niches with my skillset.😃
  • I created 2 info products and made some money from them, as a writer this gives me hope that I can use my skills to create value for people passively. (And make some money passively😀)
  • I’m happy that I made the shift from consumer to creator this year. Both mindset-wise as well in my actions.🎨
 
Nothing bragworthy here, I know so many people who are doing way “better” than me, I’m just happy that I’m at a place where I don’t feel helpless and stuck in life –

Things that didn’t go well –

  • As I navigate freelance life managing my time is a struggle. I’m saying Yes to too many clients out of fear that one day there will be 0 clients and I will be out of work. That’s leading to burnout🤦‍♂️
  • I’d hoped that I would build more assets instead of just selling my time. The last info product I released was back in May 2021. That’s bad, there should have been more🙈
  • My nighttime routine is a mess. Late meetings with clients in the west mean I often sleep post-midnight. And I end up watching a couple of episodes of random sitcoms just to “turn off” work and get ready to sleep. This is bad for my health in the long term, need to find a fix for this.😔
  • I don’t know how to market my products. It’s ridiculous really, I shouldn’t be so shy of promoting my own work. I’m so conscious of it, that even when I do try I end up doing a poor job of it.😥
  • I’m distracted as hell. Spending more time on Twitter has meant that my attention span is going down and I’m getting addicted to the pings and dings of social media. This is not good. Need systems and processes to fix this addiction.😟
This thread captures the cocktail of emotions my mind is going through these days –
Now let’s look at the future, I don’t have any “tangible” goals, but a few experiments I want to try out.

2022 – The year of plenty🌾

  • I want to take on 2022 with an abundance mindset. Not work from a place of fear, not let loss aversion rule my actions.
  • This will mean saying goodbye to a few clients. Not living in the fear of going out of work. And even if I do go out of work, it means I get the time to work on building my own assets, that’s a good thing (#NoteToSelf)
  • Doing less low leverage freelance work, and doing more high-leverage asset building work.💰
  • I want to continue my 3 newsletters, they are important assets and I should find ways to make money from them. Will try ads as well as subscription-based models and see what sticks.💸
  • I want to build a course for people looking to quit their corporate careers and work for themselves. So many people have reached out to me in the last 4 months who want to do this, I think I can help them. 😇
  • My content writing projects are going well, but I want to focus more on high ticket clients now, have done enough low ticket work. The idea is to make more money while spending less time.💪
  • I ghostwrite on Twitter as well now, I help domain experts and CEOs build a presence on the platform. Create content in their voice and that reflects their philosophy. This is a very interesting challenge for me, writing for different types of people, understanding them, and learning from them. Very excited to double down on this in 2022.✏️
  • By the end of the year I also want to build a SaaS app, but don’t want to burn myself out, so no hurries there. Plus I don’t have a solid idea that inspires me to build a SaaS right now, so let’s see.😐

Goals I don’t have🙂

My anti goals are at the root of my happiness😊, these are the goals I don’t have –
  • I don’t have any money goals, my savings are good enough to last me a couple of years, so in 2022 I want to work on multiple bets each of which has the potential to go big in the long term. Even if they don’t make much money in the short term.🤑
  • I don’t have fitness goals. I think if I work out regularly, eat moderately and sleep well then my health will take care of itself. (This is gradually happening) I’ve tried and failed miserably with weight-loss goals in the past.🙄
  • I don’t have relationship goals. My family life is in the best shape right now, I spend quality time with my wife, son, parents, and parents-in-law. Blessed. Just want to run it in cruise mode👨‍👩‍👦

Caveats

  • This is not for everybody.
  • This approach is for me at a very particular time in life. I don’t suggest this to anybody else. Conventional wisdom says you should have tangible, measurable goals, I don’t challenge it.
  • As they say, what get’s measured gets improved.
  • But they also say – when a metric becomes a target it ceases to be a good metric.
  • So I don’t know what to believe anymore. Anyway🤣
  • I’m extremely privileged to be able to do this. Everything around me is in the perfect place to allow me to do this. Grateful for that🙏
Hope you found this post mildly interesting, I’m sure you have thoughts you want to share, feel free to join the conversation on Twitter –
And feel free to DM me if you have any specific questions, would love to chat with you.
Stay in the loop, witness my journey and the ups and downs that come with it. Sign up for my newsletter – The Indie Creator.

Cheers,
Ayush 🙏
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PS: if you’re intrigued to figure out how the experiments turn out, follow my journey on Twitter or join my personal newsletter, it will be worth it🤗