Jeff Haden has been around the block and tried a lot of goal-setting techniques, but in an article for Inc., he arrives at a strategy that really cooks. He shares the ideas of entrepreneur James Clear.
A System for Goals
Clear recognizes a critical difference in life between “goals” and “systems.” For instance, an entrepreneur’s goal is to build a successful business, but the entrepreneur’s system is the processes for sales, marketing, operations, etc. The hypothesis is raised that, if you enacted systems without clear goals in mind, your systems would still produce good results as long as they have a sound foundation. As such, Haden and Clear have a few recommendations.
First of all, goals might actually reduce your current happiness by implying you are not “good enough” until you hit the goal; flip the script by committing to a process instead of a goal. It removes the pressure while allowing you to feel good about just doing your best work now. Another curiosity is that goals can actually work against long-term progress. The example is given that somebody might train months for a half-marathon, successfully complete the half-marathon, and then… stop training. If you do not set a goal and just focus on the process, then there is no roof to what you will achieve. Ultimately, and incidentally, goals might be useful for planning progress, but systems and process are what actually create progress.
You can read the insightful original article here to see if you agree: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/an-nearly-foolproof-way-to-achieve-every-goal-you-set-wed.html