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by Deirdre Murphy

How To Achieve Your New Year’s Goals? Use Systems Thinking!

Jan 27, 2021

Are you crushing your 2021 New Year’s resolutions?  Maybe you’re struggling to get started, or even to stay on the path.  Unfortunately, 92% of us never achieve our New Year’s goals.  That means… there’s only a mere 8% of elite goal achievers out there!

Use Systems Thinking

Most approach New Year’s resolutions like any other life ambition by setting a specific outcome they want to achieve.  Maybe your goal is to lose weight, get healthy, or find a new job.  Goals are great at setting direction and focus, however it’s good SYSTEMS that deliver results. Systems are the processes and functions that help us get to our targets.  In other words, good systems guide us down the path to success.

If you’re struggling like most with your 2021 New Year’s goals, remember to be a “Systems Thinker”.  If you put the right systems in place you can achieve any personal or professional goal. Author, James Clear, says it best:

“You do not rise to the level of your goals; you fall to the level of your systems.” 

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Here are two examples.

So your goal is to get healthy… Great! You further commit to take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, Mondays – Saturdays. Now, you need to focus on your SYSTEMS! What time of the day will you walk? Where will you walk? Do you have the right shoes? How about warm clothes if you’re walking outdoors? Is there someone who can walk with you, maybe serve as your accountability partner? How can you make the walk more enjoyable? Perhaps take a dog on your walk, listen to music, or an ebook.

Now take that systems thinking into your workplace. If you’re like most, you’ve been tasked to achieve a big, hairy, audacious goal (aka a BHAG) in 2021. You might be tasked to improve a process, implement a new product, or achieve a particular metric. Start thinking about your systems and a cycle of continuous improvement. Do you have the right resources? How much time will you/your team work on the goal? Define the specifics of what it’s going take, and identify the priority next steps. Once you implement small cycles of continuous improvement to your systems… you’ll be on your way to success!

Remember, it’s your SYSTEMS that will define the level of your success!

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