Every new year, I re-read this post on goal setting.
And every year it reminds me not to set any.
Author James Clear describes goals as self-sabotaging, in the sense that they effectively state that you must achieve x by the time x, or else you fail. Instead, he places importance on sticking to systems that constantly monitored, evaluated, and adjusted as needed as opposed to setting concrete goals.
Clear proposed 3 solutions to the hindrance of goal-setting:
- Commit to a process, not a goal.As Clear points out, “Choosing a goal puts a huge burden on your shoulders.” You are effectively saying to yourself that you are not worthy of total success nor happiness until you achieve a set goal. Instead of an end-all marker, plan a schedule that if followed through day-in and day-out (or weekly, monthly, etc.), it would eventually lead to the same result.
- Release the need for immediate results.Things take time. A goal with a specific deadline is like predicting the future by stating that “so and so will be completed by x date.” Breaking down that goal into attainable processes (i.e. “I will do this weekly”) is a far better way of committing to something with a reasonable, quantifiable timeline.
- Build feedback loops.
One thing goals do not accommodate is the fact that life throws us challenges we did not foresee. Things come up. In many cases, these challenges could completely derail a goal. Instead, implement quantifiable feedback to your system processes, so that they are constantly re-evaluated, and if necessary, adjusted as you see fit.
“Goals are about the short-term result. Systems are about the long-term process. In the end, process always wins.”
So I’ve compiled a list of my annual intents, followed by the systems I’ll put in place to achieve them.
My 2017 Intents
Each intent is backed by either a daily or bi-daily process, as well a weekly or monthly scheduled systems.
I’d love to know, do you usually set New Years resolutions or goals for yourself? What would your intentions look like?