Messy and Goals

My son lives in a flat with 3 other messy students. Every so often they have a blitz on the kitchen and clean it up.

But in no time at all it’s back to it’s untidy state because they haven’t changed the way they maintain it.

They’ve treated the mess but not the underlying cause of the mess – their sloppy ways.

As a financial planner it’s easy to focus too much on ‘setting goals’. It’s an overused, hackneyed expression and one I’m trying to avoid. Habits are hard to break though.

Of course it’s important for us all to have a clear objective, something to aim for, a way of measuring a successful outcome. But I prefer the approach that James Clear advocates in his new book ‘Atomic Habits‘.

James says that he’s found that goals are good for planning your progress. But systems are good for actually making progress.

‘Goals can provide direction and push you forward in the short term. But eventually a well designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference’.

I’m a big fan of systems and habits – as will be clear from some of my earlier blogposts.

My son and his friends need a system to keep their flat clean and tidy. Unfortunately I can’t see that happening anytime soon. And for that reason, I won’t be a frequent visitor…