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Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

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Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

James Clear,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Working toward a goal can set you up for failure. Work toward daily habits instead.

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples
  • Inspiring


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.


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...

About the Author

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

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