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Systematize Your Goals

The Leader's 3-2-1: Three insights, Two Questions, One Statistic.


Topic: Systematize Your Goals


'Tis the season for new goals, clean slates and fresh outlooks. It's the time of year I encourage leadership clients and teams to not only focus on envisioning goals, but also on refining their systems towards those goals. Because:


"You don't rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems." -James Clear

Your systems are your habits → Your habits are your life's autopilot → Your autopilot is the infrastructure of your leadership approach → Your leadership approach directly influences your results. Strategies that support the building of habits, or systems, in 3-2-1:

Three Insights

Take Identity-Based Action Habit-building is a form of behavior change. Your identity informs your behavior, and your behavior informs your results. Your new habits, or changes in behavior, are more likely to stick when you attach them to a type of person you want to be rather than the results you want to achieve. Example: if your goal is to prevent burnout in 2023, then your mindset is to become the type of person that sets boundaries. Self-Coaching: Reflect on one leadership goal you've set for this year. What are three words or phrases that describe the kind of person that achieves that goal? What are the daily habits of someone with those qualities? Small Actions Often Focus on taking small actions everyday towards the type of person you want to become. Small shifts in the right direction collect, collect, collect…and suddenly in a year you've made a big change. No action is too small: “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you want to become," (James Clear). Self-Coaching: What is one small action of forward movement that you cannot fail, even on your most stressful, busy day? Mindful Subtraction Building systems is not just adding habits that serve your desired identity, but also removing habits that sabotage it. When setting goals, leaders tend to overfocus on what they need to start doing instead of what they need to stop doing. This leads to overwhelm, which blocks behavior change. Discard unnecessary and unproductive attitudes and actions from your daily, weekly and monthly routines. Self-Coaching: What small attitudes and actions move you away from the type of person you want to become?

TWo questions

What specific situation needs a better habit? “Habits are automatic responses to specific situations,” (James Clear). When building new habits or removing problematic ones, be specific: when and where does the behavior happen and what behavior will you replace it with? What changes in your environment will support the habits you want to build? A significant chunk of behavior change is environmental design. For example, to reduce my own personal habit of checking social media too much, I removed the apps from my phone (the only way I can view them is on a browser). Or, to prevent burnout, I shut off my laptop and put it out of sight at 4:00pm. Increase friction for habits you want to remove and decrease friction for habits you want to add.

One Statistic

40-50% “Researchers estimate that 40 to 50 percent of our actions on any given day are done out of habit." -James Clear, Atomic Habits; original source: Wendy Wood



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