What Would Happen if You Stopped Counting?

What would happen if you stopped counting days of sobriety?

As you get used to my blog, you’ll come to accept that I’m not pushing one program of recovery over another.  I want to provide insights on as many opportunities out there to help you rediscover yourself.  Sometimes that help can come from sources outside the realm of “Recovery,” capital “R” intentional.

In a recent article in Entrepreneur, “Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead,” the author offers up to us non-entrepreneurs a pretty helpful way of thinking.  Systems versus Goals.  Or rather Systems over Goals.


 JAMES CLEAR, Writer, Entrepreneur and Behavior Science Expert

The Difference Between Goals and Systems

What’s the difference between goals and systems?

  • 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.

Now for the really interesting question:

If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results?


Give the article a read.  Think about it. The author concludes the following:

1. Goals reduce your current happiness.

When you’re working toward a goal, you are essentially saying, “I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.”

The problem with this mindset is that you’re teaching yourself to always put happiness and success off until the next milestone is achieved. “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy. Once I achieve my goal, then I’ll be successful.”

2. Goals are strangely at odds with long-term progress.

You might think your goal will keep you motivated over the long-term, but that’s not always true.

Consider someone training for a half-marathon. Many people will work hard for months, but as soon as they finish the race, they stop training. Their goal was to finish the half-marathon and now that they have completed it, that goal is no longer there to motivate them. When all of your hard work is focused on a particular goal, what is left to push you forward after you achieve it?…….

3. Goals suggest that you can control things that you have no control over.

You can’t predict the future. (I know, shocking.)

But every time we set a goal, we try to do it. We try to plan out where we will be and when we will make it there. We try to predict how quickly we can make progress, even though we have no idea what circumstances or situations will arise along the way……..


Again, just food for thought.  Counting days in a recovery program can be a lot of things to a lot of people.  For some people it is the very reason they never come back after a relapse.  For some, counting days and years is THE thing in life to work toward.  How do you feel?

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