Goals and Systems: Making a Difference in your Life

I wanted to share with you something I read that has made a huge difference in my life as well as in my business. It is about goals and systems. I have always focused on setting goals and working diligently to reach them only to realize that once I did, I needed to start over. After reading the Atomic Habits book by James Clear, I realized I too worked under the prevailing wisdom that claims that the best way to achieve what we want in life whether it be getting into better shape, building a successful business, relaxing more and worrying less, spending more time with friends and family is to set specific, actionable goals.

Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress. Take a look at some of the problems that arise when you spend too much time thinking about your goals and not enough time designing your systems.

Problem #1: Winners and losers have the same goals.

For example: Every Olympian wants to win a gold medal. If successful and unsuccessful people share the same goals, then the goal cannot be what differentiates the winners from the losers. It was when they implemented a system of continuous small improvements that they achieved a different outcome-winning.

Problem #2: Achieving a goal is only a momentary change.

Achieving a goal only changes your life for the moment. We think we need to change our results, but the results are not the problem. What we really need to change are the systems that cause those results. When you solve problems at the results level, you only solve them temporarily. In order to improve for good, you need to solve problems at the systems level. Fix the inputs and the outputs will fix themselves.

Problem #3: Goals restrict your happiness.

The implicit assumption behind any goal is this: “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy.” The problem with a goals-first mentality is that you’re continually putting happiness off until the next milestone. 

Problem #4: Goals are at odds with long-term progress.

The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. It is about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.

Fall In Love With Systems

I've found that goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress.

Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.

Smith and Company Consignment has fallen in love with systems. Look for exciting changes to better serve you, our customers.