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The Difference Between System and Outcome Goals

The Difference Between System and Outcome Goals

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their goals is missing the difference between system goals vs outcome goals. Here’s the gist...

Outcome: has a specific completion date or number of tasks. Once it’s done, it’s done (or shifts to the next phase). Example: launching a podcast.

System: an ongoing commitment to a specific area of work or habit that you’re working on. Example: publishing a weekly podcast.

Most people have more system goals than they realize which take up more time than they expect. This is part of the reason new habits and goals are so challenging. We’re already busy and don't account for the time our existing commitments take!

Here's a simple way to better understand this critical difference... make a list! Write down every ongoing goal or commitment you have and the estimated time it takes each week. This could be for every part of life, but I recommend starting with your work or a side hustle - if you do that sort of thing. Focusing on a single area of life is way easier to track and measure progress.

My System vs Outcome list looks like this 👇

The outcome goals will take me 12-16 weeks to complete because of the time I commit each week to the system goals. See how it works? Unless I back off a system goal or just work more - it's difficult to add outcome goals to my weekly schedule.