In life, we place so much emphasis on goals. Setting goals, reaching goals, making new goals.
While goal setting is great and pretty essential – you have to know where you’re going to get there – exclusively focusing on the goal is not that effective. In fact, it makes us feel like a failure over and over for not having yet reached our goal even if we are making improvements and progress.
I learned how important setting up systems are over goals this year thanks to a book that I was first considering reading after I saw it in the top selling list on the iTunes Bookstore and then knew I had to read it once I saw Charles Ngo’s post about it on his blog. The name of the book is How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. The author, who’s the creator of Dilbert, has a chapter where he talks about the importance of systems over goals because a system allows you to just focus on the task at hand. As long as you follow the system and do what you’re supposed to do everyday, you’ll be successful! This is compared to people focusing on goals and ultimately becoming flustered and unmotivated because day after day they still haven’t reached their ultimate goal.
Here are just some of the systems I’ve set up or am in the process of setting up to achieve my goals.
– I’ve hired a personal trainer that I work out with 5-6 days a week. This eliminates any daily mental struggle of whether I should go to the gym or not. There’s no question I’m going to the gym and there’s no question that there will be results because going to the gym 5-6 days a week continually will produce results. People tell me I’m throwing my money away, but I’d rather go to the gym and learn to do things in the most efficient and effective manner than wastes months or years trying to figure it out on my own without seeing great results. When you can, pay the expert. This goes for a lot of things.
– House cleaning. I use a service called HandyBook.com and they allow you to schedule cleanings, household repairs, furniture assembly – all through your phone. I have my apartment taken care of once a week so that I don’t have to waste mental energy all week long thinking about how messy my place is getting and procrastinate on taking care of it, which wastes even more energy. I’d rather not have to think about it and having a clean, organized place leads to more clean and organized work from what I’ve seen. My desk is not cluttered, I can find what I want from the closet (most times), and I’m not spending hours per week cleaning and that time can go towards building my business. I do the same for laundry, another major time-consuming activity.
– I haven’t done this one yet, but I’d like to systemize my meals in an effort to save time and be healthier. Thanks to the wonderful/horrible app Seamless, ordering food in NYC is incredibly easy. Whip up the app, order what you’d like, and it shows up at your door with no messy handling of cash involved. The problem is you still have to think about what you want to eat There are a few meal delivery services available in NYC and many are focused on healthy eating, which is what I want. That way, there’s no reason to think about cheating on a meal or not eating healthy – I simply don’t give myself the choice. I also don’t waste half an hour debating whether I want to have Thai for lunch or Turkish. The decision’s already made and mental energy is saved for more important decisions.
These are just some of the ways to systemize and automize different parts of your life so you automatically focus on the “doing” part as opposed to constantly focusing on the end-result only to never be satisfied. You can literally do this for any facet of your life. Take for example:
- Goal: Read more System: Join a book club.
- Goal: Make new friends System: Join a weekly outing / social group based on a common interest
- Goal: Lose 10 lbs System: Figure out exactly how many calories you need to eat per day to lose 10 lbs in your desired timeframe and stick to that. Don’t just focus on the number on the scale everyday and wonder why it’s not moving. Have a meal plan and workout plan and force yourself to stick to it via personal trainer, auto-delivery of healthy groceries, or a meal delivery service.
- Goal: Make $5,000 a day in AM. System: Launch 1 campaign a day in a vertical that has the potential to make you $5,000 per day. Start with getting it profitable and figure out how to scale it. Launch, optimize, learn, and repeat. Don’t just refresh stats all day.
As you can see, you can pretty much systemize any facet of your life as well as any goal that you may have. People place too much emphasis on the desired end-result. Instead, simplify your focus and only worry about whether you’ve accomplished what your system has laid out for you and design your life so that there’s no way to escape your system or at least very difficult.
Systems + Accountability = Achieved Goals.