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Focus on a Routine, Not Goals

I recently received a newsletter from The Motley Fool where author Morgan House said he was done with financial goals, and focusing on systems instead.

Here is an excerpt:

In place of goals, a lot of successful people have systems. What's the difference? A goal is a target with an end date. A system is a way of doing things all the time. Scott Adams, the genius behind the Dilbert comic, writes in his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big:
A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it's a system. If you're waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it's a goal.
He gives a few examples:
The system-versus-goals model can be applied to most human endeavors. In the world of dieting, losing twenty pounds is a goal, but eating right is a system. In the exercise realm, running a marathon in under four hours is a goal, but exercising daily is a system. In business, making a million dollars is a goal, but being a serial entrepreneur is a system.
Turns out there are many great articles on the web about this.   Just a few that come up with a quick Google search:

Oliver makes an especially good point, while also referencing Scott Adams' book:

As anyone whose employer foists “performance targets” upon them already knows, a fixation with goal-setting has many downsides. But Adams adds one more: when you approach life as a sequence of milestones to be achieved, you exist “in a state of near-continuous failure”. Almost all the time, by definition, you’re not at the place you’ve defined as embodying accomplishment or success. And should you get there, you’ll find you’ve lost the very thing that gave you a sense of purpose – so you’ll formulate a new goal and start again.
And, even Harvard Business School argues that the beneficial effects of goal setting have been overstated and that the systematic harm caused by goal setting has been largely ignored.

MyMoneyPicture is a system that helps us maximize our prosperity and financial independence.   The simple daily routine of entering expenses makes us more aware, and less likely to engage in thoughtless spending.

MyMoneyPicture makes this even more potent by also providing valuable feedback.   Experts agree, the best systems incorporate a feedback loop.  Feedback is essential to maximizing progress.

Click through the slideshow below to see some of the feedback features we've incorporated into MyMoneyPicture.