Reflections #2: Systems vs Goals

This reflection is going to expand upon my adopted philosophy of establishing systems of improvement versus achieving toward a singular goal.

I got this idea from Scott Adams, the Dilbert comic creator. He wrote a book titled “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.” This non-fiction work gave a glimpse into his personal world and explained how a lot of his success was due to a series of failures. In order to try to convince the reader to not fail *so* much, he introduced different ideas such as the concept of establishing a system instead of setting a goal.

Let’s say you want to get healthier as a general principle. I sure do! To be honest, this is where my reflection is ultimately going, so just hang in there! Just before 2020, I had a goal of losing 25 pounds. Back then, I weighed myself and I clocked in at 350. Used to, I’d be ashamed of that number, but hell it is what it is. You have to start somewhere! So, I did some steps such as joining the local gym, introducing more water into my daily intake, buying a Fitbit to keep up with these things.

A month later, it worked! I felt great relief. I had no idea really where to go next. Go for 300? Sure. The problem, in hindsight, is that the euphoria of accomplishment I received by reaching my goal caused me to backslide a little bit. When it was time to get back on track. Covid-19 happened. We know the rest from there.

So in reflection, I remembered what Scott said about systems versus goals. I proved his point. Goals are short sighted and are hard to maintain. Once you do it, you’re done. When you establish a system, the idea is to substitute knowledge for willpower. Instead, I should have established a system of getting healthier.

The idea is simple, you work at it little by little, piece by piece, each and every day. You don’t do something too drastic right away. Instead of setting a goal for weight loss, weight loss ideally should be the by-product of the system you have put in place and refined each step of the way. Plus, the system is designed for longevity, as long as you have the willpower to keep it going.

Another benefit of a system is that it allows for setbacks. Things happen! Fingers crossed, we aren’t getting another pandemic to shut everything down again any time soon. Even if you have an episode behind the scenes, you can just pick back up at your system and keep going. “Well, I did A, B, and C and they worked well. Event X screwed things up but let’s go back to A, B, and C and get the train rolling again.”

All of this is key because this is the singular system I have been trying to put in place. I’m almost 28 years old. It’s time to prioritize my own health.

Remember the previous reflection? I discussed the idea of improving my mental state by de-cluttering the noise, stress, distractions, and etc. occupying my brain. I am glad to report that I have been making great strides in this fact. Honestly, it’s given me more time to blog and actually keep this site consistently running…for once.

When I promise you guys more content, it actually appears!

With my mental bandwidth expanded, I figured it was now in prime shape to take on the major task of chipping away at some of my unhealthy habits and getting my body in better shape slowly and surely. Instead of setting a goal of keeping my mind focused, I can just remember when things get busy that I can eliminate the noise and get what I need done.

So, this reflection was to expand on the idea of systems versus goals. In fact, I am going to introduce a new category for this blog. Guess what it’s called, reader! If you guessed “systems,” then you’re correct!

The idea for this category is that I will write different pieces about different systems I try to implement. I think my first piece will be called something like “Getting Healthier #1: (Topic to be determined).” Maybe one day down the road, I take a new hobby and establish a system to learn it such as “Learning Piano #1” just to serve as an example. For a while though, especially the summer, I will be expanding on Getting Healthier and let that series play out. It will be interesting to observe the various by-products that come from the system. Some by-products are to be expected, and some I’m sure, will be pleasantly unexpected but good to have.

Thanks for reading and go have yourself a great weekend. Try brainstorming a system you would like to implement yourself. If you want to learn more about this concept, check out the book by Scott Adams, or feel free to message me on this platform and pick my brain.

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