One more note: an entry only counts once your friend has subscribed. (If they don’t, I’m not sure we can consider them a “friend”.)
Take the Systems, Leave the Goals
Many of us would love to run a marathon, read a book a week, or lose 10 pounds. If so many of us have such similar goals, why do only some of us succeed? Perhaps it’s not the goals that define our success, but our daily patterns instead.
Scott Adams, author of How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big recommends: “Instead of goals, live your life by systems.” What is a system you may ask? Adams defines a system as something we do on a regular basis that increases our odds of happiness long-term. A system could mean being active every day, writing every day, or practicing piano every day.
Results come from good systems, not from good goals. Think of two scenarios. Scenario A: You tell yourself you want to lose 10 pounds in 3 months. Scenario B: You tell yourself you will be active every day and buy more whole foods. Which one do you think will lead to better results?
Scenario A is arbitrary, makes life feel stressful, and doesn’t actually have a plan of action. Scenario B will feel easier and more enjoyable while actually leading to results.
Don’t Worryyyy, Be Happyyyy
Once we reach our goals, the feeling of success doesn’t last and usually turns out to be pretttttty anti-climactic. Adam Alter said it best: “You spend far more time pursuing the goal than you do pursuing the fruits of your success. Even if you succeed, success is brief.” Goal-setting is a never-ending cycle of satisfaction-seeking. How much better would life be if we could just be happy and satisfied day-to-day? Instead of one intense high, we should aim for consistent low-grade highs.
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
We constantly push off our happiness until we reach the next goal. Sam Harris puts it this way: “The quality of the journey has to be more important than the fleeting moment of when you arrive at your destination”. Well said, Harris. Well said.
Goals create an “either-or” fallacy: you’re a success or you’re a failure. Take a marathon, for example. Just because you’re one minute over your time goal, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure and it doesn’t negate the success of it. These arbitrary numbers will surely lead to dissatisfaction for no good reason.
With this mindset, we’re only going to feel accomplished if or when we reach that one goal. Why wait to be happy? Not to get too philosophical or anything, but isn’t life literally about being happy as much as we can? Stop pushing it away. Rude.
Once Upon a—THE END
Once we reach our goals, our efforts shouldn’t come to a halt. Take marathon runners who stop training once the race is done. Or, people who stick to a 30-day diet and go back to their old habits once the end of the month hits. The motivation behind the effort is gone and any results made will quickly be reversed. Don’t forget what a wise man, James Clear, once said:“A habit is a lifestyle to be lived. Not a finish line to be crossed.”
Think of a goal you’ve wanted to achieve for a while. Maybe it’s running 10k, learn a new language, building a successful business, or losing that “holiday weight”. Now, drop the goal. Instead, think of a system that would lead to positive long-term results in that respective realm: running 4 days/week, spending 10 minutes/day on a language app, devoting 1 hour/day to networking, or only eating out once/week. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: these systems will help you live a much more satisfactory life.
When you approach life as a sequence of milestones to be achieved, you exist ‘in a state of near-continuous failure’. Almost all the time, by definition, you’re not at the place you’ve defined as embodying accomplishment or success. And should you get there, you’ll find you’ve lost the very thing that gave you a sense of purpose—so you’ll formulate a new goal and start again.
– Oliver Burkeman
Here’s a good system: sharing THS every day will bring you closer to winning free AirPods (and your friend too).