Goals, Systems, Routines – Happy New Year!
I’ve always been a driven individual who wants to be constantly improving my life. Setting goals and working towards them is huge in terms of self-improvement. It seems that recently a lot of the self-improvement gurus, bloggers, podcasters, etc. are saying that goals don’t work and “systems” are what you should be focusing on. Ultimately, I think they are both really the same thing, it’s just the approach in how you achieve the outcome varies.
People who set a New Year’s resolution type goal set a couple of big goals for the year. If they achieve it, they feel good about themselves; if they don’t, they feel bad. Many people by the end of January have forgotten about the goal on a daily basis and only think about the year long outcome. This is why it’s best to break the larger goal apart into smaller goals with a shorter timeframe (what the gurus are calling systems). In other words, you develop a new routine in your daily life rather than glancing back at that goal once every quarter to see that you aren’t on target.
We’ve all probably heard of SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and with a Timeline. For example, you might say, “I am going to save $20,000 for a down payment on a house by the end of the year”. While it meets the criteria of a SMART goal, it is easy to fail when you only look at the big picture. Changing your routine to achieve this might look like this: If you get paid bi-weekly, break this down per paycheck, between you and your spouse you would need to save $770 per pay period. Make a budget based on that and figure out where to reduce spending so that the bi-weekly savings goal is achievable.
Another example might be getting fit or losing weight. Don’t just say, “I want to lose 10 pounds”. Figure out how you will lose 10 lbs. Change your routine, get up 15 minutes earlier and spend that time every day on exercise and planning healthier meals.
The bottom line is this – It doesn’t matter what you want to improve on. You can set the larger goal, just find a way to break it down into smaller shorter-term goals. Ultimately by making changes in your daily or weekly routines you will achieve it.
Personally, I set goals (or systems or routines, or whatever you want to call it) in the following categories: Career, Financial, Physical/Health, Intellectual, Family, and Spiritual. Figure out what you would like to change or improve on and make it happen in the New Year!
Happy New Year!