Many of us understand the importance of setting goals in the pursuit of achievement. After all, that’s what success is for most people – the achievement of one’s goals. It’s also your goals that keep you motivated throughout your journey and lead to better outcomes in your personal and professional lives.
But does setting up goals guarantee success? How many times has it happened that you set a goal and didn’t manage to achieve it? For most of us, that number is too big to recount.
So, what could we do to enhance our chances of success? What is the most effective path that one can take? Well, as many entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, leaders, and other people have discovered—the better way is to develop better systems.
Goals vs Systems
Your goals are dependent on your desired outcomes. Goals are specific or time-bound objectives that you set for yourself. For example, earning a million dollars in five years might be your goal. For someone else, their goal might be to travel the entire world within their lifetime.
On the other hand, systems are the processes that lead you to your goals. A system is a series of steps you need to take every single day so that you can become the person to achieve your goals. Systems are also critical in helping you develop habits that lead you to victory. For example, if you want to lose weight as a goal, your system might include exercising every day and eating a balanced and healthy diet.
Goals are the destination, while systems are the right path that leads you to that destination. This will cause us to redirect and focus more on the path rather than the finish line. If you do that, the destination will take care of itself.
Why You Need Better Systems, Not Better Goals
Let’s look at how having great systems in place, instead of just setting big goals, can make a big difference in our ability to reach our goals. Ready? Let’s uncover the reasons why.
1) They Enable Consistency of Effort
When you are pursuing a goal, you want consistency in effort. And that’s exactly what better systems allow you to do. If you rely only on motivation to achieve your goals, your progress will happen only in bursts. On some days, you will feel motivated, and you will make progress. On other days, you will not feel as motivated, and you will not make any progress. Motivation fades as our days, moods, or circumstances change.
However, when you have a proper system, you are more likely to make progress daily. This is because systems help you establish a daily routine and a set of habits that become a natural part of your life. Which not only builds momentum but also enables you to stay on track.
For example, if you want to write a book, you can create a system where you set aside a fixed amount of time every day to write a certain number of words. If you follow this system diligently, you will have your book ready in no time at all.
2) Systems Are More Adaptable
We live in a world that is constantly evolving. There may be sudden setbacks or unavoidable situations that might catch you off guard and throw you off track. This may affect your goals and your pursuit of them. Again, this is where systems are more suitable as they are adaptable to changing circumstances.
When you have a system in place, you can simply tinker with it to account for unexpected events. This makes it easier for you to stay on track and it certainly does away with the stress and anxiety that most people must face.
Let’s say you want to establish a successful business. Instead of setting up a rigid business plan, you might want to develop a system that allows you to test and maneuver as you go. This will help you respond to changing variables faster and more effectively.
3) Systems Give You More Clarity During Your Pursuit
Merely having a goal may not give you clarity about what you need to do to achieve it. The goal of earning a million dollars doesn’t have any meaning when you are not even clear on how you are going to achieve it. However, systems, by definition, give you clarity on what you need to do every day to achieve your goal. So, when you wake up every day, you now know what you are supposed to do. You know the steps along the way and the key milestones you need to hit. This reduces the feelings of overwhelm and procrastination. It also saves you precious time because you don’t have to spend time thinking about what to do next each day.
Systems help set up a daily routine and help you develop habits that become your roadmap for achieving your goal. In fact, your very life becomes a pursuit and a path toward your goals.
4) Systems Help You Develop Habits for Success
It is said that habits can make or break you. When you have a goal in mind, you first need to have habits that are aligned with that goal. For instance, if you want to build a healthy body, you can’t have habits that go against that goal, such as eating junk food, drinking a lot of alcohol, leading a sedentary lifestyle, etc. Setting up systems enables you to develop good habits that are in line with your goals. This helps you make progress toward your goals without even thinking about it.
If you want to be highly productive at work, you could set up a system that includes certain habits like prioritizing your important tasks, keeping distractions at bay, taking regular breaks to recharge, setting a specific time to check your emails, setting up healthy boundaries, and more. Eventually, these habits become second nature, and being productive becomes a natural byproduct.
Enhance Your Chances of Success
Building better systems comes from understanding the current patterns in your day-to-day routines and then finding ways to make them more efficient and more productive. This requires some focus and discipline from you, but it helps to separate the most important tasks so that they can be completed without distraction or procrastination. As you start implementing these systems, be sure to track your progress to ensure that they’re helping you reach your goals. Spend 10–15 minutes each day reviewing what’s working and what isn’t to further refine the process. Ultimately, learning how to use systems as a method of achieving your goals will add structure and a sense of accomplishment in all areas of life, whether in work, relationships, health, or personal development—leading to true success.