Monday, December 30, 2013

Goals vs. Systems

                 The other day I read an interesting article.  At first, I was very enthusiastic about what he had to say.  I still appreciate the underlying idea, but I'd personally feel the need to change a few things and be a bit more specific.  This article was written by James Clear on  He talks about the difference between Goals and Systems.  I can appreciate comparing the two so that you can understand the difference and the roles each play.  However, I would discourage the "forget setting goals" idea.  I do think that we, especially as writers, should focus on the system though.  I have read from numerous sources, most of whom are wealthy people, how important it is to fall in love with the system or the process.  That is how a lot of wealthy people stay wealthy.  They don't just achieve their goals and then stop.  James Clear points this out as well.  If you put too much of your focus on your goal, and not enough on the process, you won't be as likely to do it again.  (And that is, for most of us, the purpose right?)

                  Now, Mr. Clear is a writer and compares this idea to writing, which is why I chose to focus on this article.  He states that he decided to write an article every Monday and Thursday. As a result, over 12 months, he wrote over 115,000 words.  That's impressive!  As he points out he's written an equivalent of about two books!  I admire that, because it takes a lot to be that disciplined.  (It's an area I lack in... ha!)  He says he has been very happy, if not happier, with what he's written, instead of the books.  But what if what you dream of is writing those two books?  Stick to the advice he gives on setting a system of writing, but make it work towards your goal!  Goals can be VERY inspiring!! And like so many things in this world, has it's place.

                  There are a few thoughts that I'd personally change to be specific, such as his idea that "Goals reduce your happiness".  I'd change it to 'Goals can reduce your current happiness".  This small change makes a huge distinction.  If it is your primary focus, I can see how it would take away from being happy in the present.  Your happiness can always seem in the future.  But if you keep it in perspective, and focus on your system, then it can add to it!!  This is a lesson in itself, as a writer.  We have to be very careful about our wording, because it can change the entire focus and even opinion of the reader!  This may have been his intentions in writing it the way he did, but that is a whole new subject.  Ha!

                   I love his solutions though.  (changing the wording a bit, as I mentioned)  For example, he states that we should "commit to a process, not a goal".  I'd personally change it to 'commit to a process,  keeping the goal in the back of your mind.'  Or something close to that...  It's so important to keep these things in proper perspective, so that we can truly accomplish our goals, and enjoy the journey!

                   He advises us to "Fall in love with systems".  I truly agree that it is the system that will get us to our goal, whether it's in our writing, our love life or any other area.  He does concede at the end that goals "aren't useless" (haha).  However, I prefer his statement; "...that goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress.".  That, I believe, is the proper perspective to maintain.

                  One last thought... Remember that it's SO important to learn from your role models, and those who have already been successful at what you are trying to do.  It's invaluable advice!  But be careful and take heed to how you apply that advice!  It has the power to make or break your success!  That being said, take care with those that supply that advice.  I encourage you to read the full article.  Get to developing your own system and commit!  What are you going to do today?


  1. Can you hear me clapping and saying oh yeah..............

  2. I like this a lot. My goals have stopped being about an end state alone, so this adds some nice perspective. Thank you!

  3. What a great post, thank you it gave me something to think about.

  4. I had the best Christmas this year. My entire family was together, which we haven't done in a few years. It was really nice to sit around and catch up with great people. Plus the look on my son's face when he opened his Kool Rider bicycle noise maker that makes his bike sound like a motorcycle was priceless. I got the best hug I have ever gotten that day. Have a very happy and healthy new year!!

  5. You're welcome! I was really excited when I read that article because it gave ME something to think about! I'd heard the idea basically several times before, but the more that we return to the idea, the better it sinks in. :)

  6. Isn't it amazing when you change your perspective, you actually can get MORE excited about it? And it's a proven fact that you are more likely to reach the goal when you focus and fall in love with the journey! :)



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