Don’t Set Goals – Why You Should Stop Setting Goals and Start Implementing Systems

“DON’T SET GOALS!? what is this moron talking about? he knows nothing, my whole life I’ve been taught to set goals now some guy on youtube is trying to convince me it’s bad!”

I know that’s how some of you think seeing this video. So before I get into I want to start of with the empty tea cup story from Bruce Lee.

A learned man went to visit a zen teacher to inquire about zen. As the zen teacher talked, the learned man frequently interrupted to express his own opinions of this and that. Finally, the zen teacher stopped talking and began to serve tea to the learned man. He poured the cup full, then kept pouring until the cup overflowed. “Stop” said the learned man. “The cup is full, no more can be poured in.” “Like this cup you are full of your own opinions,” replied the zen teacher. If you don’t first empty your cup, how can you taste my cup of tea?”

All I’m asking is for you to have an open mind. So in this video I will convince you to never set another goal again.

So why am I telling you to not set goals again? Because chasing a goal is like chasing your own shadow, the faster you run the faster it moves. However in your mind, you’re convinced that once you reach it that’s when you will truly feel happy. But the shadow you’re trying so hard to catch is just an illusion of your own perceived happiness.

Setting goals will make you feel constantly stressed and like you’re never truly fulfilled. However if you’re actually reaching your goal, you check that of your list and realized that it didn’t make you happier and you’re on to next more daunting one. When you reach that next goal, that is when you will be truly satisfied is the lie you tell yourself over and over.

The truth about goal setting is that the closer you get to actually reaching it, the more they change, evolve, and grow, becoming more elusive. This will become a huge problem for you if your idea of fulfillment and happiness is based on the achievements of specific goals. Chasing your goals will put you in a state of discontent and hunger. Feeling like you’re never enough. It will bash on your own self worth and you’re defining yourself by an achievement that you’ve never achieved.

To live a life based on goals might make the achievements and material assets grow, but it will never make you truly happy or fulfilled. It will instead make you feel frustrated and unhappy.

Take Robin Williams for example. Did anyone actually dislike him? The guy was a lovable genius who achieved everything. He started out with nothing and decided that he wants to start in his own TV-show and does it. He decided to get more money than he can spend in a lifetime and makes that happen. Movie-star, winning Oscars, a beautiful family. The man seemed to have it all. Achieving everything he ever dreamed of. And then he hanged himself. An absolutely devastating loss. I know this is an extreme example but it shows that if you’re not fulfilled, you have nothing.

So what should you do instead of setting goals?

Implement systems.

A system based approach to life consistently leads to increased happiness, fulfillment, and achievement. You could compare it to finishing a big paper versus writing 4 times a week. Finishing a paper is a goal. A singular activity with a specific point in time where you consider yourself a worthy winner. However failure is always a possibility, and you will become heavily frustrated if you can’t meet your goal. It’s simply an unnecessary source of self-imposed stress that you are piling on to yourself.

Compare that to a system based approach where you simply write for 20 minutes each session. This approach doesn’t require a singular achievement to measure your success. Your success is measured by sticking to your system. You create a powerful habit and a sense of consistency that leads to greater instances of success in whatever you choose to do. It’s a sustainable approach that brings happiness because you’re constantly achieving what you set out to do. A system is tailored toward equipping you for success, and it embraces dedication and consistency which a goal often does not embody.

A goal in itself is not that different from a dream because they both lack the foundation necessary to reach them. This is why most people get discouraged when trying to reach a goal, because it always seems so far off. Instead focus on building the groundwork and the steps to get there.

People with a system-based approach continuously rise to the top, and if they don’t don’t they are probably on the way there. The reason for their success is not because of luck, but because of the recognition that a long-term approach is needed.

Winning the lottery is a goal or a dream that requires luck, but requires no recognition of long-term improvement. And more than often, winning the lottery will not make their life better in the long-term but the exact opposite. Having a goal oriented mindset will prevail from time to time, however the nature of the success is more fluke, unless of course the goal is to implement a system.

The mark of true success is to never rely on luck and being able to replicate that success. It’s the consistency of a system that allows you to create a foundation for the kind of knowledge and skill set you need to reach ultimate success. If you implement a system-based approach and do certain things on a regular basis, you’re will enhance your chances of becoming successful and you will most likely enjoy every step of the way. Like Tony Robbins says it, the secret to happiness in one word is progress.

So remember that goals are something you might get lucky and reach the odd time while feeling dissatisfied on the way there, but systems makes success inevitable, and you will be able to rely on them in the long term while feeling truly fulfilled in the process.



2 thoughts on “Don’t Set Goals – Why You Should Stop Setting Goals and Start Implementing Systems

  1. I’m a fan of this article. Nevertheless, isn’t the system-based approach implicit of working toward something (i.e., a goal)? That is, how can you draw up a system if it isn’t based on a specific output? Moreover, I’m having difficulty separating the the two; the input and output. Almost like an equation…if ‘x’ is the input, there must be some result ‘y’. Looking forward to your feedback.


    1. Okay so let me put it this way. The goal is the follow the system consistently. The goal should not be some number you want to reach but instead implement a system that requires a long-term approach which allows you to improve weekly. Progress = happiness. Some imaginary number is just an illusion of what you think will make you happy. What will really make you happy is seeing that you are better today than you were yesterday. Hope this makes sense!


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