Systems Over Resolutions

Systems and Habits are better than promises

Systems Over Resolutions

If you are thinking towards your 2021 New Year's Resolutions this week, I'll offer an idea: think of new habits or systems you want to execute in 2021, not firm goals.

For example, here are some traditional resolutions:

  • Run a 5K
  • Spend more time with my kids
  • Cook at home more, learn some new recipes
  • Lose some weight

Here are some systems:

  • Run or walk every other morning
  • Make Wednesday a family game night every week
  • Take turns between my wife and I cooking Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • Track what I eat every day

The issue with goals is that they are too concrete and finite - run a 5K doesn't tell you what to do to get there or what to do after completing the 5K. There is a good chance you will just stop running.

Goals don't tell you what to do; they just tell you a place you want to be. You want to establish a habit of being healthy, a 5K just seems like something that a healthy person would do.

Also, weak goals like spending more time on something don't provide an easy way to tell if you are doing well or not. By saying you want to do more of something, you are saying that it is more important to you. Focus on figuring out a way to make yourself a person who prioritizes differently instead of just declaring the universe that you want to spend two more hours a week. Use a system to establish a habit to change your identity so that you are a person who does this naturally, regularly, as part of who you are.

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