Why You Shouldn’t Set Goals
“Losers have goals. Winners have systems.”
― Scott Adams
Goals are helpful. Goals help us imagine where we want to be a month from now, a year from now, five years from now. They help us know what to visualize when we practice imagery. But goals will never be reached without effective systems in place.
Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert cartoon and author of, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big,” discusses the importance of systems over goals when he talks about lifestyle. He is a proponent of having a successful lifestyle even before you actually have “success” in your area of expertise.
One big component of lifestyle success that he cites has to do with physical fitness. Adams espouses the value of maintaining good physical shape for a number of reasons, one of which is that taking care of yourself must be a primary pursuit before prosperity and success will find you.
His system for staying physically fit is that early every morning he gets dressed in gym clothes and drives to the workout facility he belongs to. No. Matter. What. Adams tells himself that once he arrives there, if he still doesn’t want to actually work out, he can turn around and drive himself back home. But the number of times that he has actually done that can be counted on one hand.
Once he begins his system for the day, the likelihood of him bailing on the workout goes down exponentially. It’s a reliable system that allows him leeway for the off days, but gets him to his goal of staying in shape better than if he simply decided each morning whether or not to get up and go.
So, no matter what your goals, find a system that works for you. If your goal is to make a living from speaking or performing, what is your system for connecting with the right people to get booked? If your goal is to be a successful salesperson, what is your system for generating leads and following up, no matter how you feel or what the day is like?
Decide your system. Write it down. And then follow it no matter what. If it is a new system for you, follow it for at least 6 weeks and then evaluate how it is working. It takes 6 weeks to form a habit. Give yourself that time to create your system and get used to it, and then see where you are.
The most successful people develop systems in each area of their lives that take the thinking and deciding out of the everyday choices. If your goal is to be fit, follow your system of working out everyday, no matter what. If your goal is to have better relationships with friends or family, follow your system of connecting in a real way with someone everyday, regardless of how you feel.
Find what works for you and then stick to it!
What sets the very successful apart from the rest is the ability to stick to their system, adjusting it as they go. They outlast everyone else. To be in the top percentage of those in your field, develop your systems for success and then stick to your path.
It will be worth it. When the rest of the field is giving up, you will have a strong foundation of patience, resolve, and a systematic approach that yields results.
What systems do you have in place to help you achieve your dreams? Where in your life are you lacking a reliable system for success?
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