Prefer Systems over Goals

Goals are important and having the clarity of what you want helps but having solid systems in place is even more important in achieving those goals or getting you in the vicinity of the goal/s. Having systems will reduce the amount of decisions you have to make thus saving your will power for other aspects of your life. Systems can bring more discipline and can assist with consistent progress.

Thanks to Getty Images - carlp778
Thanks to Getty Images – carlp778

I was motivated by the concept of having goals vs systems by Scott Adams. Since then I have focused on having solid systems and continuously improving them. I love my systems and workflows but I keep a very agile approach. I still have goals but they are driven by systems that I use.

So what is a system? I define it as a series of steps to accomplish task/s used on a regular basis. The system can be your training schedule to perform exercise to increase body mass. The system is the GTD methodology that people follow to get work done and keep moving.

One can have a goal of saving $20,000 for an overseas trip but having a system in place to save money on a regular basis can get you the money you need for the trip and more. You can have a system in place where you decide to put 10% of your weekly wage into a saving account. You could also top it up by not drinking coffee at your local cafe but instead put that money into the bank account. Result of this? You will reach your goal sooner than expected and you don’t have to constantly chase your goal. You set, commit and arrive. A bonus of this system is that you already get into habit of saving 10% every month and can even reach other goals in the future. Oh, and we haven’t even considered the potential health benefits because of reduction of sugar intake!

As James Clear said, “..goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress”.

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