An interesting piece was recently written by Morgan Housel on the Motley Fool. At its highest level, the author argues against goals and provides a number of reasons as to why goals should not be your focus. As a person that is very much ‘goal oriented’ I anticipated that I would disagree with the authors argument. Surprisingly, I think Mr. Housel is pretty spot on.
The piece is not so much an argument against goals as it is an argument for systems. We all want certain outcomes whether they be precise or not. The author tries to escape the idea of having a goal, but it’s actually pretty difficult to do, if you’re going to commit to doing X on a regular basis. If you take to doing an action, you will expect a certain outcome to follow.
The weight and value of the piece comes from the discussion about the development of systems. “Systems” can be thought of the traction behind actually getting you from point A to point B. The problem with a lot of goal setting is that ends up being a shell. The goal exists, yet it is truly empty otherwise. Not everything is as easy as flipping a switch and turning on a light. Most goals take much time dedication and sacrifice to achieve. Without a system in place, the long road to reaching the goal will be only traveled in part or not at all.
If you have a financial goal or a goal that hinges on a certain amount of fiscal success, it is vitally important to not just focus on the end. The entire journey from where you’re currently at to where you want to be needs to be evaluated. Creating a system, some routine that is done on a regular basis, is a great idea in order to achieve the ultimate outcome.
On a final note…The entire subject kind of reminds me of the response to “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer – “One bite at a time.” That’s how you accomplish any large goal.