Create Systems, Not Goals — And Get 99.9% Things Done
Starting off with a bizarre mantra:
“Once I’ve done this, I’ll know I’ve succeeded and then I’ll be happy.”
Readers, does this mantra sound familiar?
It’s the mantra we tend to say to ourselves when we’re done setting new goals.
But it’s a broken promise.
Goal setting is so incomplete for most people — it’s representative of a failure state and it creates a creation negative feedback loop. In your mind, the entire time you’re working toward your goal, you’re actually failing.
If you only determine success by when you reach that final point, then the whole time you’re going through the process, you’re telling yourself that you are still not succeeding.
And this sounds demotivating and negative because it is!
It creates a defeatist feedback loop, because every time you evaluate your progress, you see that you’re still actually not there yet.
But when you do get there, you experienced a great anticlimax.
We don’t get the satisfaction and nourishment we anticipate when we reach our goal — it’s why we need to get excited about seeing our life as a series of escalating goals.
There’s no final point.
It’s just a journey you take until you die.
And there’s even a meme about adulting never-ending.
The laundry never ends.
The cleaning and cooking never end.
You finish paying your bills this month and it comes around again next month.
Yes, that is exactly how it is!
But instead of seeing this as an exhausting endless trudge, see it as a continuously improving process.
Now, if you haven’t read James Clear’s book “Atomic habits”, first of all, you should read it. It’s the bestseller for a reason. It helps us to look at the goals in a different way and one of his clearest ideas is:
“To set systems, not goals!”
We’ve all set goals.
We may have even followed the model of making our goals smart, specific, measurable, attainable, and time-based.
So, there you are making your smart goals, and for some reason, you still fail!
Well, to be real about it for a second: Goals on your own are bullshi*t!
There is an easy way out and a way to placate yourself into believing that you’re doing great because you’ve set a goal — but you’re not actually doing anything because you haven’t define the actions you need to take to reach that goal.
When we create hard goals for ourselves, we have an idea of where we’d like to end up in the future, and if we’re somewhat serious about it, we write down that vision.
It could be getting a promotion at work.
Getting a new job this year.
It could be to get more fit.
Attend more of your child’s soccer games.
Helping your children in improving their geography grades.
We write these goals down and stick them up somewhere we can see them everyday and then we look past the paper like it doesn’t exist anymore.
Sometimes you will see it in go —
“Oh ya… I needa remember to do that!”
But then a year passes, and for the majority of the time, you’ve totally forgotten about the goal you’ve set.
We can’t just have a goal, we need to plan how we’re going to get there.
Winging it just doesn’t work, okay?
It’s not sustainable.
You need to create a system, a map of how you’re going to get there, and as you follow the map, allow yourself to find joy and happiness there — not once you’ve reached your goal.
Systems allow you to continue playing the game.
The goal posts keep shifting so that the minute you reach one goal, you get excited at the prospect of setting another one.
Hinging your happiness on a single accomplishment is going to leave you feeling frustrated and confused when you get there.
You’re designed to pursue continuous improvement and endless refinement.
As you do things to improve your life, your mind and body grow too — they keep expanding just beyond what you pushed that you always want to push forward.
And look, creating a system and then planning your day to prepare it so that you can follow through is a constant work. We’re not going to sugarcoat it for you.
It’s not one big job every day or week, it’s constant little jobs every single day.
Let’s say your goal is to have a clean house:
Every Saturday morning, you wake up early and pack everything away, vacuum dust, fluff the pillows, and put your laundry in.
5 hours later, the place is sparkling and you’re almost done and then the kids throw their toys around, someone messes their macaroni, the dog walks in with wet muddy paws, and everything is a mess again.
But that’s because you’ve only set a goal.
When you create a system, you do something small everyday. You spend the last 20 minutes of your evening packing toys away, vacuuming a little bit, putting a load of laundry in, and packing the other load away — but you do it every day!
And so, your house is clean every day.
By Saturday morning, you’re not spending a whole day — you’re just sending a single hour pulling everything together.
That is a system!
Whereas goals alone are incomplete as they’re only 5% of your potential.
Readers, it’s time to go back to every goal you have and create a map of how you are going to get there.
What are the continuous steps you need to take to make it happen?
If you want a new job by the end of this year, your system should be to spend 30 minutes or an hour every day looking & applying for jobs and sprucing up your resume — maybe even picking up a few skills.
If you want to get an A+ on your exam, your system should be to spend some time every day doing your homework and dedicate some time to studying for it.
When you first start following through on your system, it can be kind of tired. At 10 pm, you’re exhausted and the last thing you want to do is pack your gym bag for the next day.
But it’ll only take 5 minutes. Just 5 minutes every day. Just a little bit of time
Before you know it when 10 pm hits, your mind goes —
“Let’s go pack that bag!”
And it becomes a lot less exhausting and a whole lot more exciting.
Your systems will save you as James Clear said —
“We don’t rise to the level of our goals. We fall to the level of our system!”
If you have a foolproof system that catches you if you fall, then trust us, you will be unstoppable.
CONTRIBUTED BY Entrepreneuria
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