Monday, January 6, 2014

Forget About Goals

The first “real” job I ever had (1974) was working for the North Carolina Department of Corrections. And yes, some of my friends wondered long and hard why I as on this side of the fence and not the other.

At the time, the Secretary of Corrections was a successful businessman, David Jones. David was constantly preaching the late-60, early-70s business concept of MBO (Management By Objectives) and he made sure all the people who worked for him bought into it, too.

MBO was all about setting goals and breaking the journey to goal attainment into small steps. Ever since then I’ve read everything I could find about setting and achieving goals (check out one of the best goal-setting teachers, Brian Tracy, at

Increasingly though, I’m changing my tune about goals and I believe a blogger, James Clear ( may have a concept that’s as good if not better.

Clear talks about systems, not goals. His thesis is that if you create systems that allow you to complete the consistent, everyday, small steps that keep getting you closer to a goal you’ll have a better chance of reaching the outcome you desire.

Clear makes the point that setting a goal and continuing to look at it as somewhere you aren’t actually impedes your progress in doing the things you need to do where you are.

Small steps are easier, right in front of you and give you a feeling of accomplishment that bolsters your confidence.

Welcome to the New Year! Systems not goals. Something to think about.

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