Goals Don’t Work – Systems and Actions Do!

Every new years, new year’s resolution articles pop up detailing all the same old concepts of how to succeed after setting them. The normally number one recommendation is to write down the desired new years resolution. And this somehow, magically, increases you chances of success (okay fine that is a little true according to some studies).

Fact is, however, i haven’t met anyone in my entire life who has ever succeeded at achieving a new years resolution. Goals fail 99% of the time. They are simply short term thoughts that provide us with a temporary feeling of fulfilment until we ultimately fail.

When one attaches goals to systems, the game changes. Implementing a system or a set of automatic actions are far more preferable to goals because

a) Systems automate the process of success. Want to reduce alcohol consumption? Pay upfront a personal trainer to train you during the periods where you would commonly be home and drinking alcohol. Try watching The Game of Thrones and drinking the same amount of alcohol after a heavy personal training session. Can’t afford a personal trainer? What about Crossfit? Or simply a 15 minute high intensity interval run, that you can do yourself for free?

b) Want to better your public speaking confidence and skills? Sign up and pay for three sessions of hypnotherapy to increase your confidence and join Toastmasters and simply show up!

It’s all about buying into a set of actions that force you to succeed simply by showing up.

One of my crossfit coaches Callum Ward said in a recent class that the key is to simply show up and not get hung up on the details. This has been true for me. I actually find that I’m quite lazy in the class yet my results have steadily gone up.

A recent study showed that quantity was preferable in obtaining quality later, if quantity was sought first. Not focusing on technique or skill first but rather, focusing on just showing up to a class. Want to learn how to draw. Screw the quality of your first drawings, instead focus on the number of drawings you can do in a three month period. The study showed that the quality of your drawings would be much better than if you have had focused on perfect beginner technique and skills first after the three month period.

Here are my systems:

Crossfit (It’s a ridiculously hard fitness program, known as a cult in some circles): I show up a minimum of three times a week.

First it was hard so i used a system of accountability called stickk.com to track my progress of just showing up (stickk.com is a website where you set up a system, and track your progress with a chosen monitor to enforce accountability. A monetary disincentive can be chosen by you, whereby money can be taken out of your bank account if you don’t succeed and sent to a hated charity or political association). I asked one of my Crossfit coaches to monitor me to ensure I kept at it. Otherwise my credit card was going to be charged $300 for every session i did not attend. The money was going to go towards an organisation i despise which was the National Rifle Association in the United States. After the initial hump and massive internal resistance in starting something new, this is something i do every week automatically now and I don’t need stickk or anyone or anything else to just show up and now improve.

Fasting: I eat only once or twice a day once or twice a week.

A lot of the latest research indicates that fasting actually helps speed up your metabolism as opposed to the old beliefs that it slows you down. The research also seems to indicate the people are more likely to eat less amounts of calories during periods of fasting than they would in the traditional form of eating 3 meals a day. This has been the case for me.

My system of fasting is simple, each week i will keep to 1000 calories for two separate non workout days whilst eating my normal diet on the other five days. Again I used stickk.com to track my progress to ensure i kept to the system initially. Now i actually look forward to it. I do it every Monday and Wednesday automatically without any great deal of effort. Systems once they become implemented become automatic after a set time of usually a month to six weeks..

I purchased a white board to enable me to track the progress of system implementation visually. I cannot recommend this system of system tracking more. Please see the pic below to see what i’m talking about. It is highly motivating to see what i’ve achieved for the year, what i’m currently working on and what i’m yet to implement. Instead of writing down endless rubbish goal lists. Try this instead.

Think about losing weight. How many of us have set a goal of losing x weight by three months time. How often has this succeeded. What if, you said, screw the goal, i am simply going to go to the gym five days a week immediately after work and use stickk to track and enforce my attendance. And completely ignore the notion of losing weight. What do you think that action will have? Automatically you will lose some weight if this has been set.

What systems can you implement today that can enable you to make lifelong changes that will change the game of life dramatically?

About Me
I’m Michael, a hypnotherapist that helps people deal with issues that they want handled. I’m also a proud father of two twin boys, and a loving partner to a beautiful woman. If you want to book an appointment with me: Click the following link “I want to book an appointment with Michael now”.