“You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”
Atomic Habits, James Clear
I’ve just started listening to the Audiobook version read by the author. At the end of chapter 1, he makes this proclamation. “You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.” His assertion is that with the right habits, goals become irrelevant.
I believe that goals do have a place in this process. The way I frame this is that we start with intentions. As an example, what is my vision of what my life will look like 3 years from now. That vision gives us an anchor point, a clear destination. Goal setting gives us the roadmap, the milestones, that see us from where we are to where we want to be.
This said, I agree with his assessment that it is the systems, the routines, the habits, we put in place that will propel us forward further and faster. We can use this blog as an example to illustrate the point. My purpose in blogging is to connect with and share useful, digestible, ideas with individuals grappling with how to achieve success on their own terms. My goal is to write two pieces of original content a week. But my process is…well, to tell the truth, there isn’t much of a process. When something I read or a conversation piques my interest and I think it might be helpful (such as unpacking this quote), then I sit down and write about it. This, to the great chagrin of my virtual chief of staff, leads to inconsistency in meeting my goal.
In this case, I have, as Clear suggests, fallen to the level of my systems. My opportunity is to break down the process of blogging into its component parts and then build habits that make performing these parts easier.
What are some goals you are struggling to achieve? This is where partnering with someone can help you to deconstruct the goal into pieces and then support you in embedding these systems into your routine.