Having A System Is Better
April 7, 2022
If you imagine life as a series of goals, it is a cycle of being unsuccessful in achieving the goal, hitting it, feeling good for a few days, and then moving to the next one.
The challenge with goals is that they don’t tell you how to get where you want to go or where you are going.
A better method is to use a system. Let me explain the idea of a system in contrast to a goal through a couple of examples.
- I am a salesperson, and I aim to achieve 150% of my sales target. Looking at the goal every day will only remind me how much more I have to achieve and how far away my goal is. It is not helpful. Instead, I will have a system. My system will be “every day, I will connect with five of my clients and have a conversation. It doesn’t matter if the client responds positively or not; I will stick to my system.” Similarly, I could have other elements in my system, e.g., ” I will review the latest trends in the industry every morning for an hour, curate the key trends for the day and send it as a message to all my clients.”
- I am a writer, and my goal is to start a blog that publishes something unique every week. Thinking about the goal of starting a blog beyond a point is not useful. Instead, I need to invest in a system that will be “sitting every night between 10 pm and midnight and writing. It doesn’t matter whether the writing first pass is good or bad. I will not pressure myself with some arbitrary number or benchmark I must reach.”
The beauty of having a system is this. Every time you set a system and stick to it, you achieve something. With a system, you succeed every day as long as you are adhering to it. This is very different from the idea of a goal where you are essentially failing for long periods until you reach the goal.
Both goals and systems take you to the same destination potentially, but the framing of the goal through the lens of a system is so much more effective. It gives you the kicker of positive feedback- that you have done what you set out to do as per the system,
A system I have realized with experience has the advantage of helping us feel hopeful and positive about our ambitious goals. A system tells you, “this is what I need to do to feel good about the way I am moving towards whatever end state I am looking for.”
Goals don’t do that- They are like signposts that you are supposed to look at from wherever you are and move towards.
Systems are always better. If you have defined any goals for yourself, it is good to self-check- “Do I have a good system to tackle my goals?”