Around the beginning of December I had a bit of an epiphany and didn’t want to wait until the cliche of January 1st to start making changes and taking action (see my post on a Ketogenic Paleo Diet).
The point of realization I had was that I’m 30 years old and have finally reached a point of residential, employment, and financial stability. With that came some awareness. I don’t want to wait until I’m 40 to start doing the things I want to have already done before 40. So, how am I doing to do that?
I revisited Tim Ferriss’s idea of creating a Dreamline. The short version is that you make a list of things you want to have, do, and be within the next 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years. You can even stretch to 5 years, but it is hard to have accurate perspective that far out in my opinion.
Tim recommends using 70% of your income to take care of your “regular” or as I call them “adulting” expenses; and reserving 30% of your income for pursuing your goals. There are two sides to this. First, many people, myself included cna’t really spare 30% of their income. However, second, this doesn’t mean you can’t make 20% or 15% work.
The point being that it’s important to pay attention to where your resources (time and money) are being spent. Be that pursuit of your goals, Friday night drinks, Sunday brunch, whatever… When you take a really critical look and 1) take care of your current fixed expenses or “obligations”, 2) take some responsibility for “non-immediate bills / savings”, and anything that does not fall into those two categories can be put towards your goals. Little things make life enjoyable, but they also add up.
“… there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” ~ Morpheus, The Matrix
This is where many people fail, even with New Year’s resolutions. They have a goal for the year, maybe even a plan, but the plan doesn’t translate to action. That, or the opposite, there is too much action all at once and we fail because the change is too dramatic.
It is easy to sit infront of a spreadsheet and make a plan. It’s much harder to actually put your feet on the ground and start making things happen. Which is really the idea behind “dreamlining” as I understand it.
It doesn’t all have to happen overnight, but something has to happen. For example:
- Can’t afford a BJJ gym membership right now? Make an action plan to get there.
- This month: Get your weight undercontrol (if not already)
- Next month: Develop sport specific stregnth and conditioning
- After that (3 months): Make a playbook from a belt requirement template, pick a few to drill by yourself each day
- Month 4 - 5: Find a partner who has home mats – or – pay for a hand ful of drop-in sessions at a gym you’re interested in.
- Month 6: Sign up with the gym you liked the most (or that best met your needs; e.g. commute, community, price, etc…)
Putting It Together:
Pick several large / long term accomplishments (3 - 5 years away), break those down into annual bench marks that’ll get you closer and closer each year (e.g. crossing one thing off your lifelong bucket list each year).
Next, do the same thing with each annual goal / benchmark. Break it down to a halfway point (6 months), and break that into a halfway milestone as well (3 months).
In each quarter (3 month period) then you have three months to make a to do list for. Just like checking things off daily, you’re making things happen monthly. Whether that’s three drop in gym sessions this month to get your BJJ feet wet again, X amount of boulder problems each week to capitalize on the winter weather, or stretching your comfort zone to engage in social affairs X amount of times this month.