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Create Systems vs Goals and Simplify Your Life

My life is changing simply by shifting one thing, creating systems vs goals. Setting goals was a common practice that I used to make progress in my life. While goals can be useful tools, they can also have limitations. That's where systems come in.

Shifting from goal setting to adopting systems was a game-changer for me.

Systems are the specific actions and habits that I put in place to move toward a desired outcome. For example, when I wanted to improve my overall health and lose weight, instead of setting a goal of losing 20 lbs, I adapted new daily habits that would move me towards the outcome I wanted, which were walking and doing yoga. Focusing on the long term vs a short-term goal I create a lifelong healthy habit. This is a long-term benefit. Systems can be more reliable, flexible, and effective at helping me improve my life.

Setting systems instead of goals can be a powerful way to achieve the things I want in life. These are some benefits of focusing on systems instead of goals I’ve experienced.

Gain Control Goals are often based on a specific outcome that I hope to achieve. After sustaining a brain injury from a car accident, setting goals no longer worked for me. Much of what I wanted to achieve both for my health and the progress in my life was out of my control. I would become discouraged when I repeatedly set goals that I didn’t meet. Systems, on the other hand, are the specific actions and habits that I put in place to achieve my desired outcome. By focusing on the systems that lead to my goal, I am more confident that I’ll get there eventually and I feel more in control.

Continued Progress When I focus on a goal, it's easy to get discouraged if I’m not seeing progress quickly. With systems, I can track my progress on a longer-term basis (like months) and see how far I've come. “Finding happiness by enjoying the journey, not by awaiting the destination.”

-Peter Sheppard Skaerued Focusing on the direction I’m heading and enjoying the journey along the way I am happy & content. This can be incredibly motivating and helps me stay on track because I’m enjoying the process.

Flexibility Goals can be inflexible and often don't take into account the realities of life. My physical abilities and energy vary from day to day. Systems are more adaptable and can be adjusted as needed which is critical for me. Because I honor how I’m feeling and take much-needed breaks and do not feel guilty about practicing self-care.

This means that if something unexpected comes up, or I feel unwell, I can modify my system to accommodate it without giving up on my goal entirely.

New Habits When I focus on my systems, I am creating positive lifelong habits. Big changes take time to achieve. I approach Improving my life like climbing a mountain, one step at a time, always getting closer to the summit. I identify what I want to achieve and build systems to move me toward my end result.

Each day, week, and month baby-stepping my way forward. Overall, setting systems instead of goals can be a more effective and sustainable way to achieve the things I want in life.

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