Goals vs systems

This is one of the usual posts on my blog and you will find some strong, vulgar words inside – it was necessary, because I’ve come a long way and want to name certain things appropriately, without any mercy. Do you have any goals? Are you goal-oriented? I was such a man for a few years, and I can’t recommend such approach. It may look like good motivation, but it’s destructive and stupid, in most of cases, it’s just coaching bullshit. Right now, I change my life from goal-oriented to systems-oriented, I will explain difference and write, why goals are bad option. 

It’s difficult to not hear about goals nowadays – a lot of people discuss about success, about scaling, about self-improvement. One of the core elements of such approach are goals: you must have goals and you must do anything to achieve them. For example, attractive shape, fit. According to many people, you should set your weight target and then train and eat to archive that goal. Or your own business: you SHOULD grow up, earn more, hire more employees, produce more, and more, rise your market, scale up every time. It looks fine seemingly, but there is a big problem – what after that?

Rat race

Last years I have archived a lot from my assumed goals. And guess what – almost every time, I felt happy for only a moment, and then I felt a void – no more goal, no more sense… Solution is simple and coach gurus can tell you: find another goal to achieve and continue your adventure! But it’s stupid. It’s like rat race, never-ending story with only few moments of happiness and rest of enormous, debilitating effort. It’s not hard to work hard, to work a lot, but make it without good sense: for example, waste time for meetings, for pep talks (I really hate them), but without real vision, without knowledge of what we want to do and what our values are. The tricky thing it to work smart, to say STOP in some moments and decide we are not interested in scale up, because… it will break our rules and we are happy now. 

With systems, values are more important. Back to fit example from the beginning: weight target is bad, because after months of many austerities you will be happy for only moment, and you will return to the previous weight quickly. It will need a lot of willpower and will “drain” you, like bad app can drain your phone battery. All changes you made were only temporary, only to achieve that goal. Then you will try again… and again… and again. With the same result. And it’s a definition of insanity: “Insanity is doing the exact… same fucking thing… over and over again expecting… shit to change… That. Is. Crazy.”. With system, you do not need austerities. You can decide I want to be healthier, and then, step by step, change your habits and nutrition – still tasty, but healthier than before. You do not have to plan finish an Iron Man, but you want to be quite active every day: because you know, that good sleep + healthy food + some activity = you will feel great most of time. Most, not only few minutes after each stupid goal! What an amazing difference!

With systems, it’s not important to push extremely hard. It doesn’t make any sense. Example from my life: I can run fast, but when I increase my pace, I also increase chance to injury. It doesn’t matter, because benefits from higher pace are small and from my perspective, irrelevant: I do not have goal to win something, I want to be healthier to have more power for my family, to enjoy life so… As you can see, it’s simple. Amazingly simple and I love simple things a lot. The hardest thing is to change a way of thinking. During years, a lot of us has been infected by toxic thinking, that only achieved goals can give you happiness. If effect, lot of us uses social medias “to be famous”, to show different people, what we achieved, to measure our progresses and compete with others (like Strava). But all of that it’s bullshit, just answer that question: what will you do after your current goal? Will you set a new one? Just think about that. 

Goals are for losers

With systems, you do not have to abandon all your goals. They can remain, they can build your systems, but you must remember, to not treat them as process determinants, milestones etc. If you will fail some goal – no problem, you can learn a lot from that lesson and it’s always solution where everyone benefits. I think it’s hard to separate these two things – I can blame myself easily after non-achieved goal, so in such cases, it’s better way to avoid them. And it’s the reason I still not full decided to use or to not use some services like Strava. They have their advantages, but “hidden defects” are particularly important in most of cases. Life is too short and too beautiful to waste time for such defects.

To be honest, I do not mean to stop, sit down, do nothing, and say: “I’m happy now without that rat race!”. No, it’s not an option, not for people like me, who like challenges. I urge to change life fundamentals, to build few systems based on our values and then use them to be happier. If you think you can be happy because of money, you are wrong: new jacket/car/home/TV/plane will be great for few days, but after that, you will lose a sense of novelty. If you think, achieved goals and “sucess” (whatever it is) will give you better life, you are wrong. Simple things can give you a lot of happiness, and you can use systems to make your life longer and simpler, to have more time for happiness instead of mindlessly, crazy forcing forward. It’s your life, don’t fuck this up.

The diary makes no sense to me

I read in a few books that we should write a journal, make some notes about each day, describe our feelings, our ideas, our thoughts. I decided: “challenge accepted” and started writing my own journal at the end of June. The plan was to do that for three months and maybe continue after that. Why three months? Because it’s always a period for my main goals. After two months I decided to stop and it’s a good time to share my experiences. 

So, why did I decide to stop that experiment? Well, I observed that I have a real problem with writing such notes. The best time to do this is evening, after all day and with all that “luggage of feelings”, all problems, all dilemmas, all joys and sorrows. But in my case, it was almost i possible. After work I usually go for a workout, sometimes running, sometimes cycling. I get up early to do some important things before work, so in the evenings, I’m often tired, I also do not want to use my phone or computer again before bedtime. In effect, it was difficult to write notes in the evenings. 

Ok, so I decided to write it in the morning also before work. It was better, but there is another problem – I didn’t know, what about should I write… after sleep, my mind is clear. Usually if I have some dilemmas, I go sleep and after wake up, I have a answer. It caused a lot of feelings that were… outdated? Yeah, I think it’s a good word to describe that. Because of that, such notes completely lost sense. It should be something to organize before sleep, to help my brain work on all information during night, but it was not possible.

The second problem was I didn’t go back to my notes. After two weeks I realized that with only a date as a topic, they are completely “anonymous” and do not give me any feedback. So I also started to put the most important thing in the title like: “07/14/2021: the longest bike ride”. It was much better, but the problem still existed – when should I check notes and what should I do with them? It looked like writing for.. Someone else, after my death. 

Third and last, but very important thing: if I missed a journal in a day, it was important for me and evoked negative emotions – self-blame is very easy to do in such cases, because we do not remember about all other things we had to do. It was just like a non-archived goal… Right now I know, that it’s stupid approach, because goals is a bad idea – better is just system, like “I have system to write daily notes, not specific goal”, but it was for test, to check, what can give me daily diary. 

I do not think a journal is a bad idea – because it’s a great idea. The problem is it will not work for anyone in the same way. I decided to use the phone notes app more often – to just write quick notes Immediately after an event that caused feelings / dilemmas / problems. It will be more realistic, it will be something like a “snapshot of present”, like a photograph of an important moment in life. Right now I’m thinking about how to find some time to organize all the information from a whole day before sleep, because I think it can help us a lot.

Experiment: no web browser and mail client on smartphone

I really like books about psychology, about human behavior researches and the impact of technical innovations on our lifes. Similar to other people, I use computer and smartphone, but also like make small “experiments” with them. The newest one is I think the most interesting one: I decided to remove two “core” apps from my smartphone. Web browser and mail client. Yes, these two apps. Why? Because I work remotely, I work as a software developer and I use computer almost all day. It’s stupid to move from computer to… use them same things, but on smartphone. I’ve already disabled all notifications, I really like minimalism, but this is something new for me.

I will write more information about that experiment in next posts and inform you, about progresses and advantages/drawbacks of that solution. I started… almost week ago. Yeah, it was supposed to be very small test for few days, but during it, I decided to extend that period to… probably indefinite. I see too many benefits for such small change, but will write about them on next posts, stay tuned and write, what do you think about that idea!

Pandemic advantages

May you live in interesting times – says the old Chinese curse for our enemies. We definitely had to live in such times, because hardly anyone expected, that the COVID pandemic would change our daily lives so much, it would affect, it would seem, completely peaceful functioning. However, nothing lasts forever, and changes are not so much something to defend against, but something to wait and prepare for: sometimes worse, sometimes better, but changes. Was that current situation only bad? Definitely not. In my opinion, the COVID pandemic has a lot of advantages, and a few of them would like to share with you in this post.

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Why I get up early

Get up early

As I wrote in many posts before, I work remotely. It has a lot of benefits and I will write about them (and also about drawbacks) in one of future posts. One of these advantages is fact, that I don’t have to get up early, preparing and go to work. It’s true but… I still get up early, very early according to many people who know me. What time do I do this, why I do this, and why should you try this even if you work remotely? This post is about these things. Probably many people will prefer getting up later, but I think, it’s bad idea.  

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