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Outcomes and systems

While setting goals, I always set outcome-oriented goals.

Publish a novel.
Increase my weight by 7 kilos.
Publish 150 short and 50 long blog posts.
Pay off my home loan.

Outcome-oriented goals are helpful to clearly visualize the end state. It helps clarify what success looks like. And it makes it very easy to say whether we achieved the goal or not. Moreover, the end state acts as a motivator to keep turning up everyday to do what it takes to get to the goal.

But, it doesn't help set up a rhythm, a routine for getting to that end state and realizing that outcome. It doesn't help set the pace for how we ought to make progress.

And that is where systems come in.

Each of my outcome-oriented goals are of a longer timeframe - at least a year long. However, my micro goals are all systems-oriented and are of a much shorter timeframe - from a day to a week. The systems-oriented micro goals, the counterparts of the above stated outcome-oriented goals, look something like this:

Write 500 words a day.
Stick to the weekly workout and diet plan.
Publish one short blog post a day.
Publish one long blog post a week.
Pay off 3x the EMI amount each month.

This makes it very actionable and easy to plan my day / week.

If all I have are my outcome-oriented goals, then I don't have a clue what I should be doing this week to publish a novel. Sitting in mid March, if my goal is to publish a novel by the end of the year, I will have a tendency to relax and procrastinate. I did this a lot in college with my projects where I would not start working on them until the deadline was looming close, and then end up sacrificing on the quality to meet the deadline. Not to mention the added pressure I put myself through to meet the deadlines.

However, with systems-oriented micro goals to accompany the outcome-oriented goals, I have a clear picture of what I need to be doing this week in mid March to hit my goal by the end of the year.

And at regular intervals, I can modify the systems to focus more or less on any of the individual goals. If I keep up the 500 words a day and find myself ahead of schedule in June, I can reduce it to 300 a day and focus on other goals that I'm behind on.

The outcomes and the systems are complementary and I need them both to achieve the goals I set myself.

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