Systems Over Goals

Summarising Thoughts From James Clear's International Bestseller - Atomic Habits




What Got Me Thinking 💭

📚 James Clear | Atomic Habits

(Section: Forget About Goals, Focus On Systems Instead)

Many people start new year’s resolutions, and usually, they fail. Goal setting in isolation is flawed, and this is why:

Problem 1: Winners and losers have the same goals.

"If successful and unsuccessful people share the same goals, then the goal cannot be what differentiates the winners from the losers." - James Clear

Problem 2: Achieving a goal is only a momentary change.

"Achieving a goal only changes your life for the moment. That’s the counterintuitive thing about improvement… the results are not the problem. What we really need to change are the systems that cause those results… Fix the inputs and the outputs will fix themselves." - James Clear

If your desired results don’t align with your lifestyle, you’ll always be fighting an uphill battle. Re-adjust your lifestyle so that success is the natural outcome.

Problem 3: Goals restrict your happiness.

"The implicit assumption behind any goal is this: “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy.”… When you fall in love with the process rather than the product… You can be satisfied anytime your system is running." - James Clear

Problem 4: Goals are at odds with long-term progress.

"The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game... Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress." - James Clear

People often regress after accomplishing goals because progressing further is not incentivised.


Final Thoughts:

"Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress… Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results." - James Clear

Motivation fizzles out, and it’s presence alone doesn’t guarantee success. However, focus on systems and “the score takes care of itself” (ref. Bill Walsh).

Establishing new practices requires you to rewire your existing behaviours. Do this by leveraging contracts, habit-tracking and habit-stacking. Read Atomic Habits for a more thorough breakdown on how to implement these new systems. The principles are lifechanging!



Founder Spotlight ✨🔦

Jakob Greenfeld

“After finishing my PhD in particle physics, I decided that I don't want to pursue an academic career or get a regular job. Instead, I'm currently doing a 12-month long learning experiment to determine if entrepreneurship is a viable alternative for me.

My first real product was Product Explorer, which was inspired by an idea Andrew Wilkinson mentioned on the My first Million podcast and did surprisingly well so far.

Afterwards, I launched Gum Spy and Newsletter Spy, which are small tools that make it easier to analyse Gumroad products and Substack newsletters, respectively.”

Twitter | Personal Site | Gum Spy | Newsletter Spy | Product Explorer

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