Let Go of Goals, Get Your Systems In Order Instead
For the last several years late December/early January was the time when I got clear on my annual goals. I would answer most of the questions in Bill Baren’s one-year roadmap, and then I would translate and beautify the vision onto a goals sheet that would hang in my view for monthly monitoring. This year was different. I chose to identify and track systems instead of goals.
Advice I found on goal versus system suggests there’s something to this. Systems beg for steady progress and steady celebration. They also help to develop habits we can keep long after we reach what might have been our goal.
Focusing on the system can keep us on track.
In James Clear’s blog with the Entrepreneur, he provides many great examples to clarify the goal vs. behavior:
- If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.
- If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
- If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.
- If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.
Similarly, in Daniel Pink’s newsletter, he suggests if you want to have a novel written in a year…throw out that expectation and set up a system for writing with realistic expectations.
Write 20 minutes every day, even on holidays and super busy days. Write even if it is not in the same location or captured in the same place…some days on a computer and others in a journal. Don’t worry about perfection and editing…just write. If 20 minutes is not going well, then do 10 minutes or 2 min or 1 sentence. Then, when the habit is set, increase the time again. Before you know it, the novel will be written and you may just exceed the timeline you were originally thinking.
So if you’re approaching tax day this year considering your January goals shot, let go of them so you have room for systems that take you where you want to go.
What systems do you use to live the life you want?