Let's imagine that we are Lydia Ko. We are about to tee off on the first of 18 holes in a major international professional championship.
Winning the championship would be a goal. Focusing on all that we've learned on the amateur golf circuit, putting into action all that our coach has said would be a system. Should we focus on the goal or the system?
Goals, systems and resilience
You'll hear plenty of advice about being hungry enough to win. There‘s no doubt that we need determination, but focusing on the goal is unlikely to be as effective as focusing on how to get there.
Researchers report that obsessive focus on goals, and especially dreams, makes us less resilient to the inevitable setbacks.
Examples of the difference between a goal and a system
Want to lose weight? Losing five kilograms is a goal. Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, even when we don't feel like it, is a system.
Want to be a team leader? That’s a goal. Constantly looking for opportunities to lead in small ways or contribute to the team’s productivity and morale is a system.