You are not alone if the answer is "YES". I'll let you into a secret it's the process of how you plan to reach your goals that makes the difference between the success or failure of achieving your ultimate goal! A good system or process also helps long term success of your goal and reduces the stress of achieving your goal, whilst increasing your happiness along the journey. Much less overwhelming and more beneifical all round. But do you know how?
Firstly highlighting that we are currently failures as we have not met our goal yet,
Secondly, we are saying that our happiness will only be achieved once we reach our goal,
Thirdly we are unable to predict the future so not able to know what situation and other factors we will meet whilst trying to achieve our goal, potentially derailing our goal or delaying us achieving it, making us feel like a failure,
Finally once we have achieved our goal our motivation reduces setting us potentially up to return to our old ways and away from our initial goal.
His point was that it was better to focus on the system and not the goal per se. Additionally it is important to set up good feedback loops within your system that ensures you are going in the right direction, in the most effective way. My interpretation of this is to set mini goals and tasks towards your overall goal that are measurable so you know you are aiming at achieving your goal. This is something I do myself and with my clients afterall what is that bizarre saying... you can only eat an elephant in small bit sized chunks at a time. Weird saying but it symbolises nicely what we need to do.
For example if you want to lose weight, focusing on the fact you have 2 stone to lose could be demotivating, but if you achieve your smaller weekly mini goals with the tasking given using measurable outcomes, this allows you to gain feedback of whether you are on track or if you need to change your tasking to achieve your mini goals. By doing it this way you are able to stay motivated, feel proud of your achievements whilst on your journey to your goals and not just when you get to your final goal. Do you agree?
Furthermore when you reach your goal you forget about how you got there whereas if you have installed a good system about how to eat healthily for example and follow a good lifestyle then you will continue to follow that system and stay motivated towards your goal of being a healthy weight. So basically a good system is a way of forming a good habit, and surely that can only be a good thing, can’t it?
So in summary the reasons you should be focusing on systems and not goals are because:
1. Reduce the stress of goals and increase your happiness
Working towards an ultimate goal means you are in the mindset that you only feel success and happiness when you finally meet that goal. This puts a lot of stress on ourselves to achieve a huge, mountainous goal.
Whereas a system gives you a chance to reach many smaller mini goals, which gives you lots of opportunities to be happy about your success along the way and stay motivated to achieve the daily mini goals, getting you closer to the ultimate goal. This allows you to be more present in the moment and enjoy the process, whilst improving at the same time.
2. Goals are surprisingly at odds for long-term success.
If you set a goal and just focus on that end result, what happens when you reach it? For example if you have worked hard to achieve your goal of losing 2 stone of weight, what happens after? With no goal anymore your motivation diminishes and there is nothing to push you to continue to achieve what was your initial goal, i.e. maintaining your weight.
This can create that well known yo yo dieting, and this yo yo effect is also seen with all other goals if there is no system installed in a person.
So it’s really important to focus on the long term result, including after the initial goal is met.
3. Systems help us keep on track and adapt our progress to meet our goal
As I am sure you will be well aware we cannot predict the future, so we can have the best intentions when setting goals but at times things out of our control can delay us, making us feel like we have failed, which is very demotivating and could stop a person meeting their goal.
Please note this is not a reason to make excuses for not achieving your goal. NLP’s main principle is Cause>Effect, this means we should always be at Cause i.e take responsible for everything that happens to us by learning, adapting and then moving forward again, rather than at Effect blaming everything & everyone, around us!!!
Whereas if we concentrate on a good system, by being at Cause, with effective feedback loops, it enables us to adapt to our changing circumstances and situations, whilst still feeling we are moving forward, much more motivating!
Take pride and love your systems
I am not saying goals are a bad thing as they provide the impetus, vision & initial motivation to plan your progress. Whereas good systems are vital in making progress, maintaining the motivation, focus and direction of a person towards their initial vision and desired outcome.
A good system makes the difference between the success or failure of achieving an ultimate goal!!