An alternative way to achieve your goals

Recently I read an article by James Clear which had a light bulb effect on me.  All my life I have focused on setting goals and have to say, have achieved the majority of them.  But what about the times when I failed to achieve results that I so desperately wanted?

By not achieving them, did this make me a failure?  Of course not, but it certainly made me feel that way.

Take the example of losing weight.  I set myself a goal to lose one stone within 2 months.  The end of the 2 months came and I weighed myself and had lost 10lbs.  I was 4lbs short of my goal and therefore deemed myself as having failed.

Now I realise how ridiculous that situation was.  I was 10lbs lighter.  That was a result!  And a successful one at that.  I had achieved something and yet felt that I had failed.

So how about not setting goals any more but set about following a system that ultimately will get you to your desired results.

James explains this so well in his article by describing the difference between goals and systems.

  • If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
  • If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.
  • If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.

Now stop and think, if you didn’t set a goal but followed a system, would you still achieve results?  The probability is that you would.

So instead of me setting a goal to lose one stone, if I set up a system to eat more healthily and exercise more each week, it is inevitable that I would lose the weight.  The bonus to this is that I would keep the weight off as the healthy eating and exercise would become a habit, or rather a lifestyle change, to be constantly continued.  This can be better than setting a goal which once achieved, the motivation to continue at what you were doing previously instantly diminishes.

The same is true of a runner training for a race.  Once the race day has come, the motivation to continue training tends to leave.  I once trained for a marathon and after completing it, lost all motivation to run again as I had nothing to aim for that was as challenging.

So start to commit to a system rather than setting yourself a goal.

If you set a goal to start a home business and earn £500 extra each month, the stress of not achieving that figure would increase your stress levels and reduce your happiness, probably to the extent that you would give up after 6 months.  If instead, you said you were going to let 3 people each day know about your new business venture, the laws of probability dictates that you would start to slowly but surely gain new customers and build an income that would last for the long term.

So if you are planning on achieving something, try changing your mindset from setting a goal to setting up some systems to take you towards your desired outcome.  You might just find it more fun and more easily achievable than you imagined.  Give this alternative way of thinking a go and achieve results that may otherwise elude you.