Are Goals the Answer?

I think not. For years the “gurus” have told us to A. set goals, and B. write them down. That coupled with some healthy visualization of the new you when you reach your goal was supposed to bring us to the holy grail of success. But a recent read has opened my eyes to a fact that I already knew, just had not entirely absorbed. Goals are NOT the answer. Systems and processes are. Read the excerpt from my new read below, and think about it for a second:

The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits, p. 24

“Problem #1: Winners and losers have the same goals. Goal setting suffers from a serious case of survivorship bias. We concentrate on the people who end up winning—the survivors—and mistakenly assume that ambitious goals led to their success while overlooking all of the people who had the same objective but didn’t succeed.”

Clear, James. “Atomic Habits.” Penguin Publishing Group, 2018-10-16. Apple Books. 
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Available in Apple Books

Duh! It hit me like a ton of bricks. “Winners and losers have the same goals.” Of course they do! And the simple act of setting a goal means two things, 1. Jack and 2. Squat, unless you attack the systems and processes that go along with reaching a goal. But we look at a winner and watch a clip of him or her as a young and hungry athlete and automatically assume that the reason they succeeded was because they set a goal to reach the level they ultimately reached way back then. The truth is the goal set was simply a target, and one I believe most people miss because they put so much emphasis on the aspect of defining and setting a goal, rather than the systems and processes they need to reach the goal.

The take away here should be obvious. Figure out what you want. Set a goal if you like. But then, focus your mental energy on developing a set of systems and processes that will actually drive results. THAT my friends is the journey to your success. And the good news is that if you change your systems and processes, you are almost guaranteed to change your results.

Mike S.

Until Then – Train Hard!

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