“You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems” – James Clear, Atomic Habits.
What is the difference between a goal and a system?
It is about the continuous cycle of endless refinement and improvement and not a single accomplishment.
A goal is a result you want to achieve, while a system is a process that leads to those results. In the game of life, goals represent the objective of winning the game; systems represent the ability to continue playing.
For example, if your finances are messy, you might set a goal to get them in order. Once you accomplish that goal, the result would be tidier finances. Yet, without a system, your orderly finances would not stay tidy for long because your habits are not designed to maintain financial order.
How to build systems?
Compared to a system, the issue with goals is that most people will not create a plan for achieving their goals. So today, we’re going to walk through how to build a system for financial independence.
Step One: Identify what is essential – define your why
First, reflect on where you currently are and where you ultimately want to go. Doing this will help you understand where you want to be, what you want to achieve, and why you are doing anything in the first place.
It helps to ask yourself, “what do I hope to gain from this process?” Are you looking to cut back on monthly spending, fund an emergency savings account, or prepare for an entire financial overhaul? Knowing your desired destination is key to defining your path and process.
Step Two: How to close the gap – the plan
After identifying your reasons, write down actionable steps you can take. Define it, write it down, and commit to it. Where can you make adjustments, and what daily incremental changes can you commit to? It’s about thinking less and doing more, choosing steps that suit you and your needs, not trending online.
To develop a plan that works for your needs, set aside 10-15 minutes to map out your goal process fully.
- Identify and list all the tasks that have to be completed.
- Pro-tip: schedule a weekly money date to reflect on your goal progress and other financial needs
- Organize these tasks into a workflow with deadlines.
- Make sure each task is no more than 10-15 minutes long; shorter is better – make it as easy on yourself to stick to the plan as possible.
- Track your progress.
- Use a project management tool like Notion and send calendar invites for your weekly money dates to keep yourself accountable.
- Bonus Hack: block 15-minute intervals on your calendar to set aside time for accomplishing your goal deadlines.
Regardless of where you start, pick the first step, write it down, and commit to it.
Step Three: Execute
There are two keywords to highlight: small and consistent.
Making big, sustainable changes is possible with small, actionable, and consistent steps if you can define your why and create an actionable plan.
The final, most crucial step is both the easiest and the most challenging part: show up.
You’ve gone through the process of creating a plan, and it would be a shame to waste all that hard work and time. Remember, you’re giving the gift of time and security to future you, and you’re worth the investment.