Systems versus Goals

Consider these…

  1. Two authors plan to finish their books by the end of the year. One just approaches the task as their final goal, the other plans to write 2000 words a day.
  2. Two students plan to sit for an exam in six months. One of them fixates on getting the highest score while the other resorts to study four hours per day until the test.
  3. Two swimmers register for the Olympics. One plans to win it and the other practices for 3 hours every single morning.

In all the above examples, the difference between the systems and the ultimate goals is separated by a blurred line.

From a young age, we are told to have a goal and focus on it. Setting goals play a huge part in our lives. For instance, having goals are considered to be a sign of having your life put together. They give you the directions to move forward and not get lost. However, goals are not the ultimate contenders in the race called ‘life.’ This is where systems come to play.


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Why are systems important to get to your goals?

  • Systems can be regarded as the microcosmic actions that lead to the macrocosmic effect — goals.
  • The process of attaining your goal is laden with a variety of systems that requires utmost consistency and dedication.
  • Systems lead to goals. Therefore, setting proper systems precedes setting goals.
  • Goals without a system is a path to mediocrity and vice versa.
  • Focusing on small systems rather than a big goal will make your life way easier and less stressful.
  • Systems serve as the North Star, which leads you to the destination, AKA your goal.
  • The process of achieving anything is 95% systems and 5% goals.

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Why systems are better than goals?

Most of our stress comes from the huge goals we set for ourselves. We are scared by the inevitability of it. The best way to tackle them is by breaking them into small pieces of systems and steps and tackle them first-hand (or delegate if the need be). Here are some reasons why systems win over goals.

🥅 Everyone has the same goals

Whether it is the winners or the losers, they all have the same goal — to win the last lap. However, only a handful of the few is able to succeed in it. Why? Because what differs are the ways they play the game. The systems you act upon are the ones that determine if you are fit for the goal or not. Therefore, achieving your goal should be laden with a path of small improvements known as systems.

🎯 Goals serve as the target

As stated earlier, a goal is essentially a North Star. It provides you with a vision. Systems, on the other hand, are the steps that get you to it. Every single win is a result of building the right system and a whole lot of consistency. Goals are common to most people, systems are designed by the winners.

😭 Goals take out the fun in the process

Goals restrict your happiness. They make you bargain with your own mental health. How many times you have heard and/or said the words, “Once I achieve this, I will be happy.” The problem with a strict goal-oriented mentality is that you are conditioning your happiness with some arbitrary finish line. However, the term ‘hedonistic treadmill’ is real and can cause you to lose the essential moments of your life. Instead of having this either-or mentality, as cliché as it sounds, it is better to enjoy the journey. This will also make you be more flexible in case things do not go the way to plan or just hit a casual bump on the road.

🚶🏽‍♀️ Systems are the stepping stones to success (read, goals)

It is always less daunting to tackle small tasks of systems rather than a huge goal. The reward receptors in your brain also provides you with motivation and enthusiasm when you are able to accomplish small systems of tasks. This encourages you to work harder on your goals and be better in the process. Let’s face it — the purpose of setting any goal is to win the game. Therefore, in order to play the game properly, you got to have proper systems. It is important to be efficient and organised along the way. You will not be able to stray away from the main course.

Last but not the least, goals provide you with directions. However, systems keep you in the lane.


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