As I mentioned in my binge watch of MarieTV, I’ve been feeling down about not having huge goals that I’m aspiring to. So I used my best friend google to help me feel better and found the following about setting habits vs goals. Habits are so fun. #stopsmallgoalshame

Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

This post is from James Clear’s website about focusing on systems instead of goal setting. That if you work on the system that the goal will automatically happen without thinking about it.

If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results?

“Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy. Once I achieve my goal, then I’ll be successful.”

“I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.”

Put happiness and success off until the next milestone is achieved.

You can keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on the daily process and sticking to your schedule, rather than worrying about the big, life-changing goals.

When all of your hard work is focused on a particular goal, what is left to push you forward after you achieve it?

Systems-based thinking is never about hitting a particular number, it’s about sticking to the process and not missing workouts.

Goals are about the short-term result. Systems are about the long-term process. In the end, process always wins.

Achieving Without Goals

Leo Babauta states that instead of setting specific goals we should consider “Am I doing something right now that’s based on one of my values or principles?” I know that my values are variety, compassion, wellbeing, significance and growth. So what can I do now that follows my guidelines?

  • Variety – make sure that I’m trying something new and changing things up instead of sticking to my routine all the time.
  • Compassion – helping others, sharing with others, and connecting with them despite their values. Trying to remember that we are all following a different value set.
  • Wellbeing – spending time outdoors (talk a walk, bike ride, coffee on a patio), meditate, eating foods that fuel me and are good for me
  • Significance – expressing gratitude, contributing my time or money to others
  • Growth – ALWAYS learning (you are never done), facing fears, expanding my comfort zone

Although I don’t necessarily agree with his point to wake up and do something that makes you happy. As I’ve read before, no one wants to wake up early so that they can x,y,z all the time. Sometimes things will make you happy that aren’t necessarily pleasant. For example, I wake up two hours before work to read. Typically I groan and have a hard time getting started but after I start, I’m happy that I did.

I think that setting your day based on your values instead of a specific goal will also help with “setting the right goals” you don’t necessarily arrive one day and say “what now” because you’re always making decisions based on your values instead of “I want to make a million dollars” and arriving and then wanting more and more.


People tend to rely too much on self-discipline and eschew forming useful habits. People tend to bite off more than they can chew, so to speak, setting goals that are far above their ability or knowledge level and then becoming frustrated when they make little to no progress towards them. People are tempted to take “shortcuts” to achieve a goal that may actually sabotage themselves in the long-run, like starving yourself to lose weight, or cheating to get a good grade on a test.

it’s better to invest your limited focus and energy on building habits rather than specific goals.

Habits, on the other hand, don’t sound as sexy in our heads. They’re long-term and repetitive, which makes them seem boring.

You don’t get this rush of inspiration imagining yourself eating salad for lunch every day. You don’t lay in bed at night fantasizing about flossing every morning.

Habits are an investing mindset. Habits require one to invest one’s efforts for a little while and then take the rewards of that effort and re-invest them in a greater effort to form even better habits.

With habits, on the other hand, there’s no single endpoint that must be reached. The only goal of habits is that the goal is never over, it’s a simple daily or weekly repetition that one does until muscle memory and brain chemistry kick in and you’re now performing the desired action on autopilot. With goals, every day you go back to the gym feels harder. With habits, after a while it feels harder to not go to the gym than it does to go.

So screw New Year’s resolutions. I say adopt new month’s resolutions, or as they’re more commonly known, 30-day challenges.

These are the habits I believe to be the most effective use of your limited time, energy, and discipline when starting out:

  • Exercise
  • Cooking
    • (actions step for me – take a cooking class, get more knowledge)
  • Meditation
  • Reading
  • Writing
    • (action step for me – continue to write this blog, start a daily mind dump journal)
  • Socializing
    • (action step from me – reach out to someone every day