Summary of Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

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Set goals and achieve them. This is the recipe for success many motivational speakers, self-help books and high school counselors prescribe. According to author, photographer and weightlifter James Clear, they’ve got it all wrong. Goal setting actually sabotages your long-term progress, he says. Instead, he recommends focusing on the small things you do every day. Learn how your daily routine can put you on the path to success – even if you don’t define it in advance. getAbstract recommends this quick, organized read for goal-oriented people everywhere.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How focusing on “systems,” rather than goals, can motivate you to work toward success;
  • Why goal setting can stagnate your self-development and impede your happiness; and
  • How to use “feedback loops” to make positive life changes. 

About the Author

James Clear is an author, photographer and weightlifter who publishes a newsletter on habits that make people successful.



Whether they would like to get fit, start their own company or write a best-selling book, most people have something they would like to accomplish. To reach it, they tend to set themselves an achievable goal. However, goals are problematic. “Focus on systems instead.” For example, a coach’s goal may be to win tournaments. His or her system is what the team implements on a daily basis. A basketball team that concentrates on mastering drills would likely do well at the championship, even without the explicit goal of winning. Here’s why you should prioritize getting...

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