What deserves your closest attention is neither your ultimate goal, nor your track record, nor your overall plan, but your next choice.
What are you going to do next?
Ultimate goals are heavy; they weigh on the soul. They’re useful and everything, but you can’t have them in your head all the time because the difference between that ultimate goal and your current state can be quite heart-crushingly large.
Track records can be depressing. You’re just going to be seeing all you haven’t been doing. I wouldn’t say never look at these, but if you don’t keep your exposure down, it will make you sick.
Overall plans are similarly crushing. The thought, the sight of all that’s still left to do — that long, empty, open road — is not exciting.
Which leaves your next choice. Your immediate next action.
It’s just one thing.
It’s practically instant gratification.
Let’s say your ultimate goal is Japanese fluency.
Your track record is spotty or non-existent.
Your overall plan is to follow something along the lines of AJATT/AntiMoon.
What is your next choice?
Simple: Do something. Anything. In Japanese. Anything counts.
One simple choice. Through this one simple choice. you’re bringing yourself closer to the ultimate goal; you’re building a new, better track record and you’re following the overall plan.
That’s all there is to it.
When I say I am not smart, have no talent, and have no willpower, a lot of people think I’m being modest. Trust me. I am neither smart nor talented nor “disciplined”.
With Japanese, I just made simple, local choices. At every fork in the road, I chose Japanese. That is sum total of “the plan”. If there is truly no choice, then it’s obviously not a fork. But you would be surprised how many opportunities there are to fit Japanese in some crack somewhere somehow (because concurrency counts).
This is an incredibly dumb algorithm. It is so dumb that a computer could do it. Even a lazy, good-for-nothing boy from Kenya who forgets to shower all the time — such a boy could execute this algorithm.
Observe, a pseudocode implementation of the basic AJATT algorithm.
while ( breathing )
if ( anyOpportunityExists )
It’s that simple. Make the big plans if you want. Keep the logs if you want. But know that the forks in the road are where things actually get decided.