On themes

Set yourself a theme of growth for the next week, month, or year (or all three). Rather than assign yourself a metric to meet, make that more principled and develop a value that encompasses more than just a metric.

For example, in language learning: As you have set yourself the numerical goal of studying your third language for 10–15 minutes every day, you met that goal because it’s an easy goal to reach. However, that’s where you stop. 10–15 minutes is no struggle to fulfill, and sometimes you’re more focused on the daily task of practicing for 10–15 minutes than you are on the more general theme of learning the language. However, when you’re focused on the broader goal, you take meaningful and decisive action. You might begin reading in your target language or start to think about the words throughout your day, because your theme for that week, month, or year is to become a better speaker in that language. Find ways to make the dream a reality by breaking up a task into small chunks, but take care never to lose sight of the broader vision while you do so.