Goals Versus Systems

goals vs systems(Photo by Radek Grzybowski on Unsplash)

When I posted my 7 Step System For Achieving Any Goal I mentioned the benefit of creating new habits in order to help you achieve your goals. Though I’ve heard this approach from a few different source I believe Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, is someone who swears by it.

Here he offers a great example of this practice:

Going to the gym 3-4 times a week is a goal. And it can be a hard one to accomplish for people who don’t enjoy exercise. Exercising 3-4 times a week can feel like punishment – especially if you overdo it because you’re impatient to get results. When you associate discomfort with exercise you inadvertently train yourself to stop doing it. Eventually, you will find yourself “too busy” to keep up your 3-4 days of exercise. The real reason will be because it just hurts and you don’t want to do it anymore. And if you do manage to stay with your goal, you use up your limited supply of willpower.

Compare the goal of exercising 3-4 times a week with a system of being active every day at a level that feels good, while continuously learning about the best methods of exercise. Before long your body will be trained, like Pavlov’s dogs, to crave the psychological lift you get from being active every day. It will soon become easier to exercise than to skip it – no willpower required. And your natural inclination for challenge and variety will gently nudge you toward higher levels of daily activity while at the same time you are learning in your spare time how to exercise in the most effective way. That’s a system. (Complete text here)

A few weeks ago I started to put this approach to the test with the help of a website and app called Habitica.

Within Habitica I am able to build little systems for myself in the form of a series of habits and as I complete them I am rewarded because Habitica is gamified.

Posting on this very blog nearly every day is one of those habits I am working on through the site so it will be a very tangible and public example of using a system to attain a goal.
A blog is a place to build a community and a community is what I need if I am to obtain the goals I have set for myself. More on that soon.

More on those soon.

Today I feel like I am alone and writing at a desk in the middle of a giant concert hall. Every pound of the keys echoes in the silence of the large and empty space. But I believe if I keep showing up pounding the keys with a focus on getting better every day eventually people will start to show up and the echoes will become a conversation with the world.

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