“You don’t rise to the levels of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems” - James Clear
When we think of New Year’s resolutions, a few things probably jump to the front of our mind immediately. First, a surging sense of hope and optimism when writing out our very ambitious goals for the next year, followed by a few weeks of diligent and painstaking action. Eventually, the willpower begins to deplete and we take a day or two off… which, before we know it, turns into weeks and months, and we’re at the end of the calendar year about to start this cycle all over again. There are some strange species of people, however, who are actually able to make progress on their goals. Surprisingly enough, the key to their success isn’t a superhuman level of motivation, willpower or even discipline; rather it's their simple daily habits, as explained in James Clear’s best selling book Atomic Habits.
Traditional Goal Setting
The traditional method to self-improvement is through goal setting, which often goes like this: we identify what exactly it is that we want, and then figure out when we want these results by. If we’re feeling fancy, or have been in cahoots with the self-help community for a while, we might even use S.M.A.R.T. goals (a more structured method of goal-setting).
One problem with setting goals is that it can put us in a scarcity mindset. We’ve set ourselves up such that happiness, or fulfillment is only ever reached once we’ve checked off the goal. And depending on its size, it could take weeks or even months to complete it. No wonder we lose motivation!
The Systems-Based Approach
This is where the systems-based approach comes in. This suggests that we look at goal setting as a lifestyle change, made up of tiny habits and routines that propel us forward.
Rather than looking at self improvement as a task we need to complete, think of it as a continual journey of change. This is because the nature of human ambition is that the happiness resulting from accomplishment only lasts a short while, until we get bored and we want to reach for bigger and brighter things. A systems-based approach allows us to understand that we are always going to be a work-in-progress, but we can love and accept ourselves while we do the work.
For example, mindfulness and meditation have swept up a frenzy in our zeitgeist, becoming one of the fastest growing health trends as of late. And the systems approach is a perfect way to hop on the bandwagon (be warned though, you might be the one leading the herd once you witness its effects on reducing stress, anxiety, and improving mood). To get started, we could carve out 5 minutes each morning for our daily practice.
Another benefit to the systems-based approach is that it enables us to incorporate our ambitions into easy lifestyle changes. Take brushing our teeth for example. We likely don’t have an internal battle every morning to do this. We’ve been doing it for years now and it's become a routine habit... imagine how much progress we’d make if we apply the systems approach to all the other areas in our lives!
Tiny habits applied over long periods of time pay off… big time.
Small Steps, Big Strides
We’ve all heard of compound interest when it applies to our money in the bank, but the same can be applied to the habits we practise. Just 1% improvement every day, results in us being 370% better off at the end of the year. That’s a return we can all get behind!
With all this being said, goal setting shouldn’t be abandoned altogether, rather it's best used as a way to identify our priorities, while our habits and routines can lay down the framework to help achieve.
Reflecting on the past and striving for change in the future doesn’t need to be limited to our New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a life-long process and you might even find that you’ve embarked on a journey entirely different to what previously you imagined for yourself. So, let’s embrace the change and invite serendipity into our lives.
Our Commitment to You
Here at Brío Soul Apparel, we're gearing up for a huge 2022. Yes, we've got big, audacious goals, but we're also building systems that can help us execute our vision and give back to our communities and partner charities. One of our resolutions and ongoing commitments is to continue to create the most sustainable, functional and conscious clothing by investing in socially responsible manufacturing techniques and reducing our carbon footprint.
We’re excited to have you join us on our journey!
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