A Critical Look at Goals

December 21th, 2022

This week:

  • New Year’s Resolution season is here.
  • Companies are hiring without even interviewing candidates.
  • The efficacy of the goals and the SWOT Analysis are questioned.

In the News

Work-from-Home Tension: In response to a new policy in the UK that requires employers to provide flexible work schedules (Gov.UK), even in their first days of employment, one billionaire owner has responded by calling the new policy, “staggeringly self-defeating” (MSN).

Hired with no Interview: Companies are hiring workers without meeting them for an interview (Wall Street Journal).

  • This practice is particularly common in high-turnover sectors like retail and warehousing.
  • 80% of UPS seasonal workers are hired without an interview.

The Triple Peak of Work: Do you log in late at night to check on work stuff? Should you? Microsoft employees do (Chartr). This trend was linked to the pandemic in its effect on work schedules (World Economic Forum).

Other News:

Less Punishment, Better Results: Some schools are attempting innovative new policies that reduce penalties for absenteeism. Some indicators show that this might actually be effective. (Hechinger Report)

New Years Resolutions: Only 9% of people who attempt New Year’s Resolutions actually achieve them (

A Deeper Dive

Systems or Goals?
Goals have long been considered essential for future success ( A person without goals is thought to lack direction and is considered utterly unprepared for life.

But what if goals are not the end-all-be-all solution they are made out to be? Goals do not facilitate the process of taking action and they only focus on a predefined outcome. They look backward, not forward.

In contrast, systems facilitate action and direct learning, but they can be messy. This New Year, embrace the system, in all of its messiness (James Clear Blog). Tailor your system to your life to reap the rewards this New Year.

Quote to Consider:

“I had discovered that writing–with whatever instrument–was a powerful aid to thinking, and thinking was what I now resolved to do.” – Barbara Ehrenreich (May she rest in Peace)

What I’m Reading

This week, I have two book suggestions that I have been reading.

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism– Amanda Montell

  • From the Jonestown Kool Aid,’ to Heaven’s gate, to your average political activist, no one is immune from the clutches of fanatical language. I found the first half of the book to be stronger than the second, because it focused on more concrete examples. This was still a fun read.

Get it in Print or Audio.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – James Clear

  • This may be the best book on habit formation ever written. It is full of impactful one-liners and practical advice on habit formation through the strategic use of cues that can transform your ability to focus on what matters most.

Get it in Print or Audio.

Articles of the Week

  • KISS (Keep It Simple… Silly): To be productive, you don’t need a complicated system. Simple, purposeful habits will lead to far better outcomes. (Carl Pullein)
  • Go Away SWOT: The SWOT Analysis is a popular framework for strategizing at the organizational level. But does it actually work? (Roger Martin)
  • People are ‘Trippin’: The story beneath our personal story can cause us to stumble. But what if we ask ourselves insightful and intelligent questions that foster strategic, critical thought about what happens in our lives? (Ingrid Y Helander)
  • Joy > Stress: The holidays create a lot of anxiety, but they are supposed to be a time of joy and love. This year, let’s remember to remove the unnecessary stressors and put yourself first. If you are truly stressed, this could be the most unselfish thing you can do. (LinkedIn Pulse – Alysia Perron)

Deep Dive Careers Article of the Week: Power Dynamics, Part 1 & Part 2

In a 2 part series, the reasons why even average people should care about accumulating more power are outlined:

Remember to use all this power to affect POSITIVE change in the world.

Other Fun Stuff

Here are the top 10 most-watched holiday movies over the past month (Wall Street Journal). This year, two new movies are making some noise, but the gap between the top 3 and the rest is notable.

  1. Christmas Vacation (1989) – 8.6 million views
  2. Home Alone (1990) – 8.4 million
  3. Elf (2003) – 7.9 million
  4. Four Christmases (2008) – 3.6 million
  5. A Christmas Story (1983) – 3.4 million
  6. Falling for Christmas (2022) – 3.2 million
  7. The Noel Diary (2022) – 2.8 million
  8. Die Hard (1988) – 2.6 million
  9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – 2 million
  10. The Holiday (2006) – 1.7 million

Everyone loves taxes, right? Here are some exciting, 2022 Tax Tips that can be used to save money and impress everyone at holiday parties (Fidelity).

  • 2022 was a tough year. If you lost money, consider a strategy of tax loss harvesting (Fidelity).
  • The standard deduction this year is $25,900 for married couples and $12,950 for single filers. If itemizing makes sense, the end of December is approaching, so be sure to send a tax-deductible contribution or two to your favorite charities.
  • Tax deductions on education expenses may be available for those who contribute to 529 savings plans and through the American Opportunity Tax Credit for students (Internal Revenue Service).

As always, keep copies of everything.

*OBVIOUSLY, none of this constitutes actual tax advice. If you need help, talk to a professional, not me.

Thanks for reading. I’ll catch you next week.

Be well,


*This post contains affiliate links. These help financially support the Deep Dive Careers platform.

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