This article by James Clear touches on what I covered in the previous post about journaling. As I mentioned I found that using a journal to record my progress in tennis technique, tactics and my mental/emotional state have helped me become a better player through incremental improvement. Clear's article shows how the British cycling team, which had never won the Tour de France, ended up winning it in 2012 as well as pulling in 70% of the gold medals in cycling in the 2012 Olympics. They did it through “aggregation of marginal gains” as described by Dave Brailsford, General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky, Great Britain’s professional cycling team.
Keeping a journal helps me keep track of where I'm improving and where I need to spend more time and effort.
While I'm on the subject, Clear also suggests it's better for us to focus on the system we put in place to accomplish goals, rather than the goals themselves. (A point that Scott Adams also makes in his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.) Another way of saying it is to focus on the process (the system) rather than the goal (the outcome). Here are some of his examples.
- If you're a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.
- If you're a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
- If you're a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.
- If you're an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.
Clear goes on to explain the reasons why setting up a system works better than focusing strictly on goals. Rather than repeating them, here is the link.