Ditch Resolutions for Quarterly Goals




Hey, it’s that time again!

That time when we scramble to choose a 2024 goal, make some blanket promises to ourselves, plan out the first week, and then drop the charade by February.

The Western world loves a linear hero-focused journey, so New Year’s Resolutions make sense in this context. Become the hero of your life! Conquer your biggest goals! What’s not aspirational about that?

IMO, everything, such as:

  1. 365 days is too long to feel the dopamine of good progress
  2. The intense eye-rolling with each annual proclamation
  3. You can always “get back on the wagon” tomorrow. Or later…
  4. The July guilt kicks in, and you say “next year”
  5. That inevitable, unknowable wrench making your goal irrelevant
  6. What exactly do you prioritize for the entire calendar year?

Instead of scoping life around years, I choose quarters.

This approach has some extreme benefits:

  • Incentive to act immediately and see results in 91 days
  • Prioritizing the stuff you want as the person you are now
  • The chance to restart in less than 13 weeks
  • The option to reevaluate your path 4 times each year
  • Lower stakes, less anxiety, singular focus

But this does require some heavier introspection upfront. It helps to draft a 3-year vision to wisely select your most effective Quarterly Goals.

The scope of your Quarterly Goal will also be different. Don’t try to become a whole new person overnight, but you might refine one aspect of your life in this timeframe.

And yeah, stick to one! If you achieve 50% of them, you’ll have accomplished more in one year than tackling a yearly resolution.

Quarterly Goals align nicely with Japanese concepts of cyclical time. Working alongside the seasons slows my perception of time across the year, allowing me to savor more and feel a stronger sense of accomplishment.

To combat Quarterly Goal fatigue, it helps collect screenshots in a “Wins” folder. When I’m in a rut, I open that folder, see the effort I’ve put in before, and remember how much I can achieve once the momentum starts rolling.

Finally, I’m big on self-improvement books. Revisiting these annually reminds me that change is an internal practice, not a war to win.

  • Atomic Habits
  • The ONE Thing
  • Your Best Year Ever

So that’s it, the secret sauce to ditching New Year’s Resolutions. Let me know if you’re up for the challenge or have already adopted anti-resolution practices. I’m always down to swap notes.