The Difference Between a Goal and a System

This article right here contains the most significant leadership insight I've learned in the last year: "Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead." by James Clear. (<--- You should really consider reading this article ... it's better than what I'm writing here).

From James Clear's excellent article (which you should read) - linked above

Throughout my adult life I've been a goal setter. And I've been a goal hitter. Except when I'm not.

In 2015, I wanted to get in shape so that when the twins were born I'd have the energy to keep up with them. In 2014, I wanted to write my Ethnicity Everywhere book. In 2013, I set a goal get my whole Staff team fully funded. In 2012, I was going to finish the Barbaro book with my dad. In 2011, well, you get the picture, right? I didn't hit any of these goals.

The common reason I failed to hit my goals is because I failed to develop meaningful systems.

If I had an exercise 20-minutes per day (and don't drink anything but water and black coffee) system, I'd hit my goal of being in shape in 2015. If I did daily writing (like I'm doing now), I'd have finished all of my books (Ethnicity Everywhere, Barbaro, The Discovery of the Ring, The Good Circle, Circle Theology, Idle Worship, etc ...). If I made one request for a donation per day, my team would have been funded.

There's a world of difference between a goal and a system.

A goal is the end zone; a system is the field. Where do you play the game?
A goal is the finish line; a system is the course. Where do you run the race?
A goal is the eulogy; a system is the daily grind. Where do you live your life?

As I round the corner of another year, my brain and my heart swing into goal mode: what did I accomplish this year? what do I want to do next year?

I wonder what would happen instead if I focused on my systems.

Do you have any great systems that you've developed to be healthy, write more, or lead better? I'd love to hear about them.

No comments:

Post a Comment