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Why You Should Not Set Any Goals?

Updated on June 5, 2020
PrateekJain24 profile image

Prateek Jain is an aspiring content writer. He aspires to become a creative writer in the finance field.


Why you should not set goals? Yes, you read it right. Don't set goals!

A supremely practical and helpful book Atomic habits written by a world-renowned habits expert James clear. At one side where people think that to achieve big you need to think big. Atomic habits enlighten to make small changes in our behaviour to transform our lives. This actually helps us understand the journey beside goals setting. The most powerful and practical book on habit building. As we have seen that goals are being set by failure and an achiever both. But what makes an achiever the achiever is his little but continuous growth in all spheres.

Atomic habits explain the significant impact of making small improvements in the whole to achieve the desired result. The most fundamental rule of habit formation is that one can 'achieve more by focusing on less'. Instead of focusing on big, we need to work composedly on hundreds of small decisions.

Considering the case of British cycling team named team Sky, which was performing extremely poor in all of their tournaments. From 1908 to 2003 they won only one gold medal in the Olympics game. The team performance deteriorates day by day. Looking towards the poor performance in the biggest cycling race tour, de France the organisation started looking for the solutions to the failure.

One of the British manufacturing companies of bicycles refused to sell bicycles to the British cycling team. They fear the audience could doubt the cycle's performance due to the team defeat. Team's bad performance will adversely affect their bicycle sales. As a solution, the British cycling organisation appointed a new coach Mr Dave. His approach to improvising the training was way different from the previous coaches. He used to work with the strategy of 'the Aggregation of marginal gains'. The strategy aims to improvise every atom by at least 1% which all will contribute to better results. He applied the rule on his work, made hundreds of small changes which turned out to be significant.

For example, Dave redesigned the cycle seat and wearable fabric as lightweight for their riders comfort. Alcohol was being rubbed on tires, for their better grip. He didn't stop there and improved every possible thing related to cycling to the extent we didn't even think. Experimented with special beds and matrices for the sweet sleep of their riders, dictated proper hand wash techniques to prevent them from getting ill. Thoroughly researched for different massage gels for the riders faster muscle recovery. From the riders' eye drop to the cycle chain oil Dave improvised every aspect coming in the way of cycling.

The sweet result of all the hard work they encounter in the form of Beijing 2008. Here 60% of the gold medals were in the account of team Sky. Next was the London Olympics where the team won 9 Olympics records and 7 World records. Under Dave's guidance, the team won 66 gold medals, 178 world championships and 5 tours de France in just 10 years from 2007 to 2017. While working upon our skills that one per cent doesn't even come in the notice! But in the long run, it gives a compound effect to the achievement. 'The Aggregation of marginal gains' did really work.


That's why the author emphasizes more on the system and less on goals. Because goals directly associate with results whereas a system associated with the process which takes us to the goals. Building a healthy body is a goal whereas eating healthy food is the system. Attaining 90% in exams is the goal whereas daily reading and thoroughly understanding the subject is a system. Goals are fine to set direction but if you want to progress, you need to follow the system. The one who continuously works upon his goals achieves it. Just like material is made up of molecules, a remarkable result is the achievement of atomic habits. So forget goals and follow the system.

Habits can be built by two ways outcome-based or identity-based. The majority prefers to go with the outcome-based process. A simple example can explain it clearly that if two people are trying to quit smoking and someone offers them the cigarette the first person says "I'm trying to quit smoking" the other person says "I'm not a smoker". That is exactly the difference between outcome-based and identity-based.

If you want to achieve something you need to change your identity instead of merely inculcating the result. The difference is little but influence at large scale. People want to do a lot but don't want to change their identity that's why they end up losing. Because our actions are nothing but the reflection of our set of beliefs.

Whatever we do in routine our repeated actions becomes our identity. Because an action took place only for once will not be seen as our identity. But its repetition would transform it into our habit and then identity. When we write something, our identity as a writer gets improvised. Whenever we speak in public, our identity as a public speaker gets better. Whenever we influence somebody we get identified as a leader. So we ourselves decide what we want to be by taking small steps towards the same.


Our belief system is exactly our identity. We change a habit for good at craving of some reward to which we know it as goals. Our belief system will only direct us to our ultimate goals. Now start planning your task in the new ways .You will soon start felling happy. Share it with your friends and peers. Motivate them to follow the said process. They will surely thank you later.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Prateek Jain


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