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Time to Ignore Your Goals?

January 11, 2017

 

"If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results?"

 

I'm not anything close to a competitive runner.  In fact I'm way below average when it comes to running.  However, I learned something about goals while running up a long hill once.  I was exhausted and my body was arguing with my mind - my body said "quit" while my mind said "keep going."  I kept looking at the top of the hill.  The struggle was intense.  I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it.  I finally moved my gaze down to the road just a couple of steps ahead and kept pounding it out.  Success!  I reached the top of the hill without focusing on my goal, without looking at the top of the hill.  Instead I focused on my process, the next step I needed to take. 

 

James Clear wrote a good short article last fall that raised the question, "What's the difference between goals and systems?"  He gave the following examples:

  • If you're a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.

  • 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.

Obviously goals are good but without a system to accomplish them, they're empty.  I didn't completely ignore my goal but I set it aside for a while and focused on the next steps needed to get there.  I never would have accomplished my goal of getting to the top of that hill without a system.  What about your goals?  Systems too?  The top of the hill is important but it's the steps that will get you there. 

 

 

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