Your Goals And Strategies Will Change

By Jamie McSloy / December 17, 2017
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Your Goals And Strategies Will Change

It’s the time of year where everyone sets their goals and resolutions. Generally, it’s a good practice.

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals for the year. But I’ve seen people talking about five year plans. Ten year plans and more.

This is without a doubt a waste of time in 99% of cases.

Here’s why:

Your goals over time will change.

Even if your goals remain the same, the methods by which you get to those goals will change.

Your Goals Will Change

You will have different desires in life within a relatively short period. What seems imperative at twenty will seem immature at thirty. If you hit forty and you have the same goals as your average twenty year-old, then something has gone very wrong.

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At the most basic level, your goals will increase in scope and achievement. Let’s say you want to learn the piano. Within six months, you’ll have exhausted the “newbie gains” and you’ll be able to play simple pieces on your piano.

You probably won’t be content with that after a year or two. If you are, then one of two things is true: You’re letting yourself down due to a lack of drive, or playing the piano simply isn’t that important to you.

If it’s the latter, then great. Maintain your ability to play the piano, put it in a holding pattern and dedicate the learning to something else.

If it’s the former, then you have work to do. Play harder pieces, learn more complex scales and techniques and make your time investment worth it.

Life isn’t like school: You don’t get any extra points for putting in more hours.

On to a more fundamental reality of goal setting over the long-term: You aren’t the same person at forty as you are at twenty.

I’m not very old, despite the grumpy old grandpa thing I occasionally drop into. Yet I’m old enough to see guys be complete dicks in their late teens and early twenties, only to hit their late twenties and which they hadn’t been dicks. Hindsight is 20/20, but you don’t have the benefit of it.

Instead, be mindful of the fact that your goals will change. I’ve known guys who have saved up their paycheques so that they can buy flashy cars… only to sell them a couple of years later because suddenly they’re a father and there’s no space for a pram.

By all means, live your life and enjoy your dreams. But be mindful of the fact that your goals and dreams will change.

Even if they don’t, there’s still another annoying reality that’s just as important.

Even If Your Goals Stay The Same, The Methods You Use To Achieve Them Will Be

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re going to be invincible forever.

Young guys and girls hit their adult stride and basically everything goes their way. They date, they get jobs and can pay their own way. They have fun and look good and feel good. Even if they mess up, there’s still a ton of time to make up for losses and nothing really has consequences because, hey, you’ve not got anything to lose anyway.

This doesn’t last.

Let’s take a really easy example. Fitness.

Most guys get into fitness because they want to look good. Looking good means being big, strong and muscular.

What’s the quickest way to get to those goals?

Pump a ton of weights with high intensity, eat everything in sight and let your natural testosterone do its work.

You can do that at twenty. You can pull all-nighters with ease too. Your body is primed and ready to go, and it’ll do whatever you tell it to.

You can’t do that at fifty.

Your goals for fitness might remain the same throughout your life: You want to look good, remain healthy and generally up your quality of life. Exercise is great for that.

But you can’t exercise the same way at fifty as you do at twenty, because your body won’t heal as quickly and you’ll just injure yourself.

The wider point extends to everything:

  • Financial gambles are easier when you’re young BUT
  • Investing is easier when you’re older (assuming you have more capital)
  • Socialising at different ages requires different strategies (at Uni you can go to parties and meet hundreds of people, that’s tougher after you graduate)
  • Dating changes as you get older, as do relationships

Your strategies will change over time even if your goals stay the same.

Biggest Problem

So, we have two realities:

  • Your goals are probably going to change
  • The methods by which you pursue your goals are probably going to change

The biggest problem with those two things, aside from the fact you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, is the fact that you may well think, “Yeah… but I’m the exception!”

(Well, hopefully not the guys and girls who read this site. You seem a smart bunch.)

This doesn’t have to be obviously, “You’re talking crap, Jamie” but more a sense of, “I’ve heard guys get injured but I’ll probably be ok!” or, “Yeah I know everyone’s saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in this basket,” but this time it’s the new gold rush.”

Your goals will change. The strategies you use to get to them will change.

You have to bear this in mind otherwise you find yourself achieving things your twenty year old self wanted only to find you don’t care anymore. Or worse, you’re a fifty year old woman trying to pull young guys at the club by dancing with them because that’s what worked thirty years ago.


  • Kenneth T says:

    I saw some guy on twitter today bragging about making a 15 year plan and had the same thought.

    Having long term goals is great, but life is far from predictable and is bound to throw you your fair share of curve balls over a 15 year span.

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