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Don’t Set Goals for 2020! Systems Please!

Don't Set Goals for 2020! Systems Please!


That is the opinion of Dilbert cartoonist, blogger and author Scott Adams, and it is a point he makes in his 2013 best-seller – How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.

NOTE: Mr. Adams has become a political commentator since he wrote that book and I am neither condemning nor condoning his political views. I am merely illuminating a point he made that seems to have helped a tremendous number of people.

Adams wrote, “Goal-oriented people exist in a state of continuous pre-success failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out. Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do.”

Goals are too hard and fast and they often simply set us up for failure when we do not achieve them. Goal setters also often remain in a state of anxiety while their goals are out of reach.

Adams advocates setting up “systems” instead of setting goals, where the systems are really like habits of sorts that we can more easily practice on a regular basis.

The key is to make sure the habits/systems are leading to constant improvement, more opportunities and ultimately to our overall vision. This requires constant feedback monitoring to make sure we are heading in the right direction.

Adams used his cartooning and blogging as examples. He did not set out to be published in ten thousand newspapers nor did he plan to become a best-selling writer.

He merely started to consistently dabble in cartooning and writing while also responding to feedback from readers; he did more of what they liked and less of what they did not like.

And eventually his “systems” resulted in great success.

Other examples include:

Exercise: Don’t set a goal of a 3-hour marathon; instead establish a system of running 4 to 5 times per week while tracking progress.

Weight Loss: Don’t set a goal of losing a certain number of pounds; instead establish a system of eating better and smarter and tracking progress.

Sales: Don’t set a goal of getting a certain number of leads every week; instead create a system to set aside an hour each day for sales calls and sending relevant emails.

With all that said, we will still set goals at JVM (and I will personally), but we will combine them with effective systems that make our progress more enjoyable and more likely.

Here is a brief blog Adams wrote about the topic.

HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us at JVM Lending!

Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(855) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 310167

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