Have you ever reached a goal you’ve worked hard for and expected to feel a burst of elation only to feel a little dissatisfied? Or that you just immiediately increased the target to another goal?
In this short clip Adam Alter, author of ‘Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked’ argues that goals are never fulfilling and what you should focus on is implementing ‘systems’ instead.
Through the example of smart watches and fit bits Alter describes how people initially feel good about hitting a daily exercise goal. Yet soon the number becomes hollow and they
have to keep increasing their exercise target in order to feel satisfaction or to feel that they’re achieving their goal. Otherwise they feel like their failing and eventually give up because they feel it’s not worth it.
This is an unsustainable way of achievement and Alter argues the problem with goals is they’re based on negative feedback, “if you don’t hit this goal you’re losing”
Systems on the other hand are based on a positive feedback mechanism. For example a blogger instead of saying “I’m going to write a post a day” can instead adopt a system of spending 40 minutes writing a day. Instead of focusing on getting a specific number of posts your focusing on becoming a better writer and saying
“Here’s my system, 40 minutes of writing a day and whatever number of words I get I’m achieving”