Why Goals Suck (And What To Do About It)



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Hey everyone, Kosio Angelov here, founder of High Performance Lifestyle. In this episode, we’re going to talk about goals, and most importantly, why goals and concentrating on your goals might not be the best idea – in other words, why goals suck. I’m going to give you some of the major downfalls of having goals and putting all your focus onto them, but more importantly, I’m going to give you an alternative: a different way of thinking, a different thing to put your attention to, to become more productive, to become more successful.

The (Potential) Power Of Goals

See, we all have things we want in life. Some are material, some are not. Maybe you want a new car. Maybe you want a new house. Maybe you want to lose some weight. Maybe you want to write a book. Maybe you want to meet a tall, handsome Italian guy, or you want a smaller nose, or you want to be happier or a better presenter.

We all have things we want, and conventional wisdom says “you have something you want, make it into a goal.” Say I want to lose 60 pounds in the next 3 years. Put all your attention, put all your focus to that goal; eventually, it’s going to work out.

But as we all know, that’s not always the case. There are some major downfalls to this way of thinking, to putting all your attention and all your focus into goals – and here’s why.

1. Goals Can Reduce Your Happiness

First of all, goals can reduce your happiness. I know this is something you don’t hear a lot, but concentrating on what’s going to happen 6 months from now or a year from now is holding you back from being happy right now. Think about it: if your goal is to lose 60 pounds, it might take you a year to do it, and instead of you being happy now, you say “Okay, when I achieve my goal 6 months from now, a year from now, only then I’ll be happy.”

You’re tying in your happiness for later on. You’re postponing it for later. Instead of living in the moment and being happy now, or at least tomorrow, you’re saying “I’ll be happy eventually, if and when I reach my goal.” Some of your goals might take you years. It might take you 10 years to actually achieve them. It might take you 20. Does that mean that for the next 20 years, you’re not going to be happy? That’s a good question to ask yourself.

2. Goals Are NOT Continuous

Goals are typically not continuous. For most goals, once you achieve them, you need to do something afterwords. You want to lose 60 pounds, you want to write a book, okay. Let’s say you actually do. You write a book; then what? Are you going to give up being a writer? Chances are you’re not going to. You lose the 60 pounds; then what? You need to create a new goal.

If you don’t, you might get back to gaining that weight or not writing enough. If you’re a businessperson and your goal is to make a million dollars – you make the million bucks, and then what? You’re not going to give up being a businessperson. Goals are typically not continuous. They provide you this yo-yo effect of you achieve something, and then if you don’t have something else to achieve, you might start going back. You might start reverting your progress instead of moving forward.

3. Goals Are NOT Practical

Goals are typically not practical. If you want to lose 60 pounds, if you want to write a book, that’s awesome – but that doesn’t provide you any means to actually get it done. And of course, it’s better to have a goal than not have a goal, but just the fact that you have a goal doesn’t make it possible, doesn’t give you a way to get there. Just because you want to go to Italy, doesn’t provide you the means to actually get there.

These are the major downfalls of having a goal and putting all your attention, or at least most of it, into the goal. What’s the alternative? Because you’ve got to have goals, you’ve got to achieve things in life, you’ve got to be successful. So what’s the alternative?

The Superior Power Of Systems

Instead of concentrating on the goals, concentrate on the system.

What are systems?

Systems are the collection of all the processes, of all the actions that you take on a consistent basis in order for you to achieve an outcome.

If you’re a tennis player and your goal is to win the Wimbledon, the system is your training schedule. It’s what you do, how you practice, all the skills, everything that you do in order to become a Wimbledon champion. If you’re a writer and your goal is to write a book, the system is your writing schedule, going out there every day, sitting at your desk, writing great content. If you’re in business and your goal is to make $100,000, the system is the collection of all the marketing and sales systems in order to achieve that.

And here’s why concentrating on the system might give you better results than concentrating on your goals.

1. Small Wins

First of all, systems provide you with small wins. Goals are in the future – maybe a year from now, maybe 3 years from now. Systems are right now. Systems is what you do every day or every week in order to achieve that goal. When you concentrate on what you do, you’re going to get small wins that are going to keep you pumped up and energized and motivated to actually continue.

If your goal is to lose 60 pounds (to go back to the same example), every day, the system is to go out there, have a jog, have good, nutritious meals, take 1 hour and exercise. You’re concentrating on what happens today, or at least in the near future, instead of on the super-far future, and that provides you a) the motivation and b) happiness in the current moment.

2. Long-Term Continuation

Systems provide continuation. Systems are long-term. If you want to become a more fit person, you concentrate on doing it every day, going out, exercising every day for 30 or 45 minutes – that provides you ongoing results, sustained progress.

That’s what productivity is about; that’s what success is all about. It’s about continually improving over and over again, making small steps towards achieving that goal. It’s not about having a good week and then having a bad week and then having an awesome week and then having a little less awesome week. It’s about continuous, sustained growth – and systems provide you that.

3. The Specific Steps To Success

Systems provide you with the specific steps that you need in order to achieve your goal.

Systems are practical.

If you want to write a book and your writing schedule is to write every day 2 pages or 2 paragraphs or 100 words, these are the actual steps. If every day, you sit at your desk and you write 2 pages, you’re going to write your book, no doubt about it. But you’re concentrating on taking action, not only on the end outcome. Because if you sit down at your desk and you write and you write and you write and you do it week in, week out, you’re probably going to write more than one book.

Concentrate on the systems versus the goal.

Goals + Systems = Inevitable Success

And here’s the best part: combining these makes your productivity skyrocket. It makes your success almost inevitable. It makes it automatic. Just the system, just doing, doing, doing, is good; it’s going to provide you with great results. But if you don’t have an aim, if you don’t have a goal, then just doing is not as efficient. On the other hand, just having a goal, not efficient either.

Combine both – success becomes automatic.

Over To You Now

Take some time now, take 5 minutes, think about all your goals. Think of all the goals you have for yourself and think, how can you attach a system to it? Something that you can do that’s going to support, that’s going to make that goal possible.

And then think about your systems. If you have systems right now, if you have something that you do on an ongoing basis, figure out what’s the goal? What’s the outcome? Just doing it, it’s good, but doing it with an outcome, with a goal in mind, is going to be much more efficient.

Combine both, have an outcome, have a way of getting there. Success is automatic. It’s not a matter of if you’re going to achieve it; it’s a matter of when you’re going to achieve it.

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What are some of your goals that can  be improved by adding a system to them? Share in the comment section below: