January 31, 2021

Goals vs. Systems - Atomic Habits

Did you set a goal this year? It’s great if you did, but how do you intend to achieve it?

A goal is great for setting a direction, but systems and processes help you get there.

Inspired by the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, here’s why I think we should spend more time thinking about systemisation rather than goals.

Happiness Starts and Ends at the Goal.

Goals are unfair to us - they demand that we meet them exactly where they are, and scold us if we don't.

There is no reward for nearly meeting our goals, nor do they recognise the hard work and sacrifice it takes to meet them.

Whether we’re an inch or a mile away from the goal doesn't make a difference, because meeting goals has always been binary; 0 or 1.

Besides, what happens after the goal? Do we truly become happier afterwards? What comes next?

The problem with setting goals is that we put off happiness until we reach them.

The moment we do, happiness isn't usually there to greet us. Maybe it does, but it's a fleeting moment. Happiness starts and ends at the goal.

“Now, meet me at the next milestone”, it says.

Build Systems in Order to Continue Playing the Game.

Win or lose, some games are worth playing for the fun of it.

The same goes for our work. If we want to continue playing the game and get better at it, we have to build systems that we enjoy.

Instead of messily trying to achieve the goal of X hours of work in a day, we should build an enjoyable schedule that helps us seamlessly get there.

Instead of trying to reach 10,000 subscribers, we should build systems to help us make consistent content.

The aim isn’t always to ‘beat’ the game, but to continue playing it.

For games you want to continue playing, you need a system, not a goal.

When the systems are in place, the goals take care of themselves.

"You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems."
- James Clear
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