We live in a complex world. Our perceptions of the world differ from actual reality. There is so much information that our brains use filters to help decipher the overload of information, leading us to have a very incomplete picture of the world. There is so much we don’t know, leaving us to be very bad at prediction. Given this foundation, this sets us up to not be very good goal accomplishers. There is just too much uncertainty.
You are better off setting up systems for yourself to succeed. Rather than having a goal of losing 5lbs/month for the next three months try just getting your gym clothes on each day. Some days you might go to the gym and workout and other days you just might not. Either way, you aren’t a failure because you aren’t in the goal setting business.
We know that our brains have limited supplies of willpower. If you muster up all of your willpower just to go to the gym and train for an hour when you would rather just sit at home after a long day of work, you will have no willpower left to use on other things. Over time this is a losing strategy.
Systems are great because it is a reflection of your daily habits and actions. If done right, it shouldn't take any willpower. Everybody’s system will be very different. You want to find one that works for you. One that brings you energy and helps you succeed. Any morning I am not at the gym early, I make a cup of coffee and read first thing. This doesn’t take me any energy to do. I love coffee and I love a great book. After I am done with this I actually feel like I have more energy to do the things that I wouldn’t originally want to do. Like write this blog.
Goals are a specific event at a specific point in time. Due to the uncertainty and complexity of the world you are likely to fail. No matter your intentions or no matter how much work you put in. You are better off setting up a system that you enjoy, that brings you energy, and helps luck and success find you.
If you are still adamant about setting goals. Set a goal, but set up a system that will lead you to the general vicinity of your original goal.