British GQ – February 2023
English | 191 pages | pdf | 101.57 MB

Don’t Have Goals. Build Systems.

IT’S A DANGEROUS time of year for bullshit. When one year turns into another, the hucksters make a pretty penny off of our new year’s resolutions: weight-loss fads, exercise miracles, and so on. And hey, it’s also the time of year at which we bullshit
ourselves. I will do X by [date]! I’m going to be Y for 100 days straight! I’ve been there. It feels good. But dopamine is cheap and fleeting. Willpower is a powerful thing, but it only throws the afterburners on what’s already in motion – like how having a few drinks can only amplify charisma that actually exists. Another thing that’s dangerous and often bullshit: purchasing books at the airport. That kind of purchase is usually best reserved for pulpy spy thrillers that start at the denouement and then flash back six months. Purchasing non-fiction at the airport is particularly dangerous: most of those books should be Twitter threads at worst, blog posts at best.
However – and this is no bullshit – I purchased James Clear’s Atomic Habits at the airport a few years ago, and it was a totally transformative read. (To be fair, I bought it on Kindle, which is slightly less dangerous.) Core to Clear’s manifesto is this: forget goals, build systems. Goals don’t, on their own, produce results. Systems
do. Goals are shiny, sexy, dopamine-spiking, enough to get the wheels turning.
Systems are slow, methodical, unsexy – but the only way of producing anything at all. Without systems, it’s just… new year, same you.
It’s why our cover star, Erling Haaland, with the help of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, worked for two years to perfect his headed finishes. It’s why Haaland and his father Alfie mapped out his
potential club moves three, four, five years in advance.
It’s why Lando Norris, who is also profiled in our annual GQ Sports issue, is keeping one eye laser-focused on the 2024 and 2025 Formula 1 seasons: he knows that those are the years where, if everything is prepared just so, he could win it all for the first time.
There’s a stupid amount of pressure compressing each of us right now. There’s every chance that 2023 will be even doomier than last year. So
there’s no better time to work smarter for ourselves, to be more methodical, more tactical, and less reliant on fleeting emotions or moods. There’s this Navy SEAL
mantra I’ve always liked:slow is smooth and smooth is fast. When this year hits its inevitable moments of chaos, I’ll lean on that again.
Enjoy British GQ Magazine February 2023 issue. And in the spirit of getting systematic, I asked ChatGPT, the internet’s favourite hyperintelligent chatbot, to have a go at writing this month’s editor’s letter as well.* (Not bad, but I think I’ll keep writing them for now.)

Adam Baidawi
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