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you are your systems

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Do you find yourself held back by bad habits? Or find it difficult to hold on to the habits you would like to cultivate?

I am the same way in some areas of my life, but I have created systems for implementation that make the habit automatic in others. Before a pattern becomes automatic, it requires conscious energy to think about completing it or to abstain from a specific activity.

developing the right incentive structure for you can go a long way

In my sophomore year of college, I decided to begin reading more books in my spare time. I would like to pretend that the attempt was in the pursuit of knowledge, but I had a sponsor pay me $100 for each book I read up to 30 books.

While I had the money incentive, as you can imagine, reading came easy. When the money disappeared, the resistance came, and I returned to my average of 3 pages a month. I then found the Audio summary (because I didn't read) for James Clear's book Atomic Habits.

however, focusing on systems instead of habits is how you get results

Although the title features the word "habits," the book is all about designing and implementing systems around your habit. In his book, James suggests getting extremely specific with your goal, making it as easy as possible, and nesting it with an existing routine. My desire to read more became an exact statement:

"I will read 1 page at my desk every day after I brush my teeth, but before I start work/class."

identify small tasks, get specific and build systems around that

I then left the book I wanted to read out on my desk, and it constantly encouraged me to read. Focusing on reading 1 page lets you establish the system around reading, which makes implementation easier.

Even if I read 1 page forever, that is about 1.5 - 2 books a year which is only slightly below the median of 4 books a year (According to a Pew Research study).

even if you only take a baby step, that is still progress

However, the idea is that when you go thru the motion of starting to read, you will most likely read more than one page, but it's about promising yourself to perform the system.

In this podcast, I touch on systems more and explain why I think understanding systems is key to understanding personal growth. I also go beyond areas I did not have an opportunity to touch on in this article.

if you want to learn more about systems check out the podcast

I titled this "you are your systems" because it is something that I believe. Our daily actions are a series of interrelated systems. If you have never taken the time to think about the systems you have in place, I will echo the question I asked in my video:

Who are your systems preparing you to become? Are you proud of that person? How can you improve them or change them so that you are?

do not judge and let your systems compound

Ask this question from a place of non-judgment, and observe what is. Systems compound and can either make you a better person over time, or they can make you regress over time. James Clears always tells people to strive to be 1% better each day. I think

the reasoning is summarized with a picture that is present on his website.

build systems around the things that matter to you

I have worked to build systems around my content creation to make it as easy as possible for me, but also slowly make me a better human in the process. It has become the motivation for other systems that I currently have in place.

To make the content, I have to read, foster my energy, journal, and continue to move on my journey (forward or backward). The new system I have created takes the focus AWAY from views, subscribers, and external milestones and focuses on my intrinsic goals and perfecting the process.

At the end of the day, as long as I am growing and developing my discipline, I am making progress in the right direction.

Download the action Item that is paired with this article. I promised you I would provide you with action items to go along with what I am talking about. I was not lying to you. Here are the action items for systems and systems thinking.

Action Items:

Systems GW
Download PDF • 77KB

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