2019 As A Failure – How I Hope To Avoid Losing A Year

In 2019 I hope that focusing on what I lose if I don’t act towards my goals will be a motivator to achieve my goals.

Two psychologists, Kahneman and Tversky proposed what they called Prospect Theory in 1979. Prospect theory explains how people make decisions based on what they think they are gaining or losing as a result of the decision. Prospect theory helped to quantify loss aversion.

I don’t make new years resolutions. A resolution is a decision to change made a point in time. Resolutions don’t guarantee any action beyond the decision point. I have found that it is more helpful to set goals for the year. Having goals gives me a measurable outcome to evaluate. I know whether I have reached the target for that year.

Kahneman and Tversky noted that humans are predisposed to avoid losing more than we will pursue gain. (Loss Aversion.) For 2019 I have turned my goals for the year on their head. I have described each goal as something that if I will complete I will avoid loss. In this simple experiment, I have started my 2019 goal sheet by saying: “2019 Will Be A Failure If. . . ” I have four items on my list that must be completed to make sure that the year is not a failure.

I am not going to share my goals here. It is a little too personal right now. I hope that as I go through the year, the fear of losing a year will drive me to each goal. I don’t want to have 2019 be the year of failure.

To be clear: My goals are not about preventing risk. It is about avoiding the risk of a wasted year. Examples of what my goals look like are: “It would be a wasted year if I didn’t jump out of an airplane three times.” or “2019 would be a wasted year if I didn’t run a marathon by September.” (Neither of these are my goals, but they have similar risk or commitment required.) I want to avoid the loss of a year, not the loss on any specific goal.

I expect that a focus on preventing the loss of a year will drive me to work hard to achieve what I have set out to do. I don’t want to have to report back to you in a year that I have failed on all four counts. I don’t want to lose, no one does. Here’s to a year of avoiding loss – for the benefit of my life.