TN50 #50, Think About It, 13 December 2021

Hi Team,

Happy Monday and welcome to The Next 50 #50, What do you THINK about New Year’s Resolutions.  I am going to pitch you on Systems versus Goals, but first my new logo.



Now I know that some of you are wondering why my logo looks like a chopped up snake, the lineage goes back to one of my favorite Founding Fathers, Ben Franklin (more about his early cartoon here) but let’s not focus on the snake lets focus on the 4th domain – THINK.  I touched on EAT – SLEEP – MOVE over the last 3 weeks so let’s set the stage for 2022 with THINK.

I gave up on New Year’s Resolutions years ago but I do look at New Years as a time to reflect back and think forward about what improvements could be made in existing systems in the year to come.  If you are still making New Year’s Resolutions that are focused on goals you might find focusing on systems more useful.

In Scott Adam’s book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big – Kind of the Story of My Life, we read the following, “To put it bluntly, goals are for losers.  This is true most of the time.  For example, if your goal is to lose ten pounds, you will spend every moment until you reach the goal – if you reach it at all – feeling as if you were short of your goal.  In other words, goal-oriented people exist in a state of nearly continuous failure that they hope will be temporary.  That feeling wears on you.  In time, it becomes heavy and uncomfortable.  It might even drive you out of the game.  If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction.  Your options are to feel empty and useless, perhaps enjoying the spoils of your success until they bore you, or set new goals and reenter the cycle of permanent pre-success failure.” (pg. 32).  Does this sound like a New Year’s Resolution or what?

More from Scott, “For our purposes, let’s say a goal is a specific objective that you either achieve or don’t sometime in the future.  A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run.  If you do something every day it’s a system.  If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.

… For our purposes, lets agree that goals are a reach-it-and-be-done situation, whereas a system is something you do on a regular basis with a reasonable expectation that doing so will get you to a better place in your life.  Systems have no deadlines, and on any given day you probably can’t tell if they’re moving you in the right direction.” (pg. 33).

And finally, “My proposition is that if you study people who succeed, you will see that most of them follow systems, not goals.” (pg. 33).

So what’s it going to be, New Year’s Goals or New Year’s Systems.

As always please share your thoughts or questions and share this with your team or anyone who might find it useful.

Have a good one, Alex