Using Systems and Goals to Increase Success. Your Student Life for the Week of 2/14/21

February 14, 2021

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Your goal is your desired outcome. Your system is the collection of daily habits that will get you there.” James Clear      

Many people start the new year by setting goals but less than 10% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions each year.

Is there a better way?

First, to set effective goals, consider the following:

  • For goal setting, consider S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound.)
  • goal card may also be helpful.

After effective goal setting, focus on the system:

In his book Atomic Habits, author James Clear suggests the following strategies to think of systems:

  • Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making sustained progress.
  • For example, you might have a goal to clean up a messy room. But if you maintain the same sloppy, pack-rat habits (system) that led to a messy room in the first place, soon you’ll be looking at a new pile of clutter and hoping for another burst of motivation.
  • Instead of getting an A in a course, a better goal could be to become a better student (a system).  This would shift your focus to the daily process:
    • How often and how much you study
    • Improve your study skills
    • With whom and where you study
    • How you address difficult topics
    • Your eating, sleeping, and exercise habits
    • Your method for tracking progress before grades/exam. This could be in terms of quizzing or testing yourself, etc.

R. Ryan Patel DO  
FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist  
Counseling and Consultation Service 
Office of Student Life