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Self-Improvement by Adjusting Your Focus From Goals to the Process

Posted by Brian Spence on Jan 17, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Self-Improvement, ProductivityMost people are familiar with the process of setting goals. You decide you want to achieve something. You work toward that goal until you achieve it. One entrepreneur, James Clear, though, has another idea for self-improvement. No matter what you want to achieve, he suggests focusing on systems rather than the goal. With the systems approach, you are focused more on the process than on the end result, but the end result happens because you worked on the process.

There are several reasons Clear feels focusing on systems rather than the goal is more efficient. They include:

  • Goals reduce your happiness. You get the attitude that you are not good enough now, and you will only be good enough when you achieve your goal.

  • There's nothing to push you once you have achieved your goal.

  • Goals are focused too much on unpredictable or uncontrollable circumstances. For example, if your goal is to have a multimillion dollar company by 2019, and your product doesn't take off as quickly as you anticipated or someone else creates a similar product around the same time, you may end up failing if you're focus on your goal and not on the process.

When you are focused on systems, if your ultimate goal was to build that multimillion dollar company, your process might include forming new business connections each week or setting aside time each day to focus on improving your product. With the systems approach, if you had planned to make three new business connections this week, and you only made one or two, it would not be a big deal, especially if those were high-quality connections. The process of making those connections would be more important than the actual number of connections.

The process approach applies to other parts of your life as well. For example, getting healthier (and potentially losing weight) would be more about eating healthy and exercising daily. If your half-hour workout ends up only being twenty minutes one day, it won't be a big deal. You did the workout, and that's what's important.

If you would like to learn more about this and related topics, visit the Self-Improvement and Productivity sections of our blog.

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