The big issue in setting goals is that we are always failing until we reach the goal. We sometimes never achieve our goals, therefore, we are a constant failure! But wait… isn’t failing a good thing? Aren’t goals important to set so we know where we need to go? In fact, I have written about the importance of goals and failing before. What I have found out recently though is that I haven’t been setting goals at all… they have been systems.
Every time you apply a system that you have set up, you are succeeding
Systems vs. goals
Whilst reading Hal Elrod’s book, I decided to give this a go. The goal was to become more productive and have more energy each day. If this is what I was trying to achieve each day I would simply be failing. Productivity and energy are very hard to measure and to be honest even though I know these have increased, it’s very hard to see the change on a day to day basis. Instead, I set the system of doing the habits each day, therefore, I was successful each time I did this.
The miracle morning includes 6 habits that “successful” people do. The idea is to do this before you start your day (top tip- it doesn’t matter how early you wake up, all that matters is the habits start to stick):
- Silence (meditation)
Click the subtitle to find out more
When we moved we decided to write down 30 things to do before turning 30. For some reason, we put run a marathon on the list (nutters!). We were 26 so we knew we had time and the goal was always there. We tried getting into jogging (I believe this is pronounced with a silent J) a few times, but to be honest, it’s very boring! Plus we had loads of time to complete this so we kept putting this off.
It wasn’t until we created a system for running that we started seeing progress. The system was to run at least every other day. This meant we didn’t have to run any distance or at any speed and as long as we stuck to our system we were successful! For me, I could not have run regularly without a podcast/ audiobook to listen to and of course without the positive peer pressure of running with Sarah.
After completing the marathon, I had one goal… Put weight back on. However, I didn’t really want to become a couch potato. So I followed a simple system of going to the gym twice a week and doing the same exercises but increasing the weight. Once I gained the weight my system has stayed the same but the workout has changed.
As we are living in Qatar, the holy month of Ramadan means that employees can only work so many hours a day because a lot of people will be fasting during daylight hours (I think it’s supposed to be 5 hours, but we work from 7:30-1:30, so work that one out!?) Either way we have more time at home so the system has changed to “going to the gym every day”.
Over the summer, we will be here there and everywhere so a gym won’t always be available. The system for the long run will simply be “be active every day”.
When we started writing the blog we didn’t really decide how often or how much we would write. It was really just a case of writing something that came to mind when we had the time.
Since the new year, we have a system of writing one blog a week. I personally find it easier to write early in the morning so I find that weekends are the best time to write, although I do occasionally get something in my head at random times (like now is a Thursday afternoon, when I should probably have a beer in hand ready to start the weekend- again living in a Muslim country means the weekend is Friday, the holy day, and Saturday).
Are you winning or losing?
The whole point of setting up a system is that it changes your focus. Rather than consistently losing at achieving your goal, you will be consistently winning at doing the thing you set out to do. From personal experience, I find that if I stick to my system for long enough, the goals that I wanted to achieve just start to happen.
How to fail at almost everything and still win big- Scott Adams (Dilbert comic guy- I must say he’s a pretty clued up man)