There are systems for everything. Like secret formulas that create specific results faster, easier and more frequently. What if you could systematize your current life into more of the life you want? Stay with me
Automating the Burger
Take McDonald’s. They didn’t become famous because they had the greatest tasting burger, it was because they could guarantee the same flavor, every time. McDonald’s systematized the cooking and assembling process of their burger into easily replicable sequences of tasks. These systems were broken down so well that they could be done by people with no education and that didn’t even know English. McDonald’s found their formula and customers enjoyed that same taste no matter which McDonald’s they visited.
Automated Photography Services
When I worked for a photography firm, another life ago, I was fascinated with how the founder used systems. She had left the corporate world to start her own firm and had recorded in physical binders various processes of each major aspect of her business. Each binder had laid out important processes step by step, in detail, for appointed staff members. In this way she could easily delegate those tasks and step away when she wanted while still ensuring her business would continue running smoothly and most importantly her standard of service would be preserved.
To me she was genius, to her it was just business. This woman had found the formula for her business and understood how to use systems to get that same end result with or without her supervision.
Years later I was remembering her and wondered what if I could automate my empowerment? What if I could create a sequence of activities that reliably influenced me in the way that I wanted? In following that thread of thought, I began to explore situations that crossed my path that incited feelings I wanted. I looked into what led to them and broke them down into processes I could easily replicate in my daily life.
Cuing Mind and Body to Level Up
The intention was for the sequence of actions to reliably cue my mind and body into a certain states of being every time. Sure, feelings are not as tangible as food ingredients and cooking processes at McDonalds, but what has proven true for me is that although I may not be able to feel the exact way every day through the same routine of actions, I can reliably influence my state of mind within a predictable range.
Being Better On My Crankiest Days
This meant that on my best days, my routine cued me to feel powerful, focused, robust, centered and clear. On the worst of days I would at minimum feel clear and focused. So I stayed within a spectrum of good feeling that I wouldn’t of, had I not done that specific routine. If I hadn’t slept well the night before and woke up cranky, but still followed my routine of self care, to feel focused and clear the rest of the day wouldn’t of been possible had I not followed my routine. Foggy brained and drifting were more likely.
Automating Depression Out of My Life
Over time this has an aggregating effect and makes it a mental and physiological habit for me to feel at the very least focused and clear even on my lowest of energy days. This is how systems are powerful. This is how over time my depression was no longer a reality. I kept doing those actions that cued my mind into better and better feeling states until they were habits.
Get Deep To Get Real
Creating systems though requires a lifestyle change and the level of change doesn’t happen for superficial goals like “fit into a size 10”. There needs to be absolute clarity on who we want to be more of as a result of implementing this habit system.
Personality Change Vs. Goals
I have spoken in posts prior about how we are more likely to stick to our efforts to change when we view them as a change to our personality rather than an a mere goal to be reached and crossed off. So saying to myself “I’m going to move towards being a person that enjoys being healthy and habitually eats 5 serving of fruits and vegetables every day” as opposed to “I’m going to lose 30lbs”.
Who You’re Becoming Trumps a Means to an End
To know what to be more of sometimes it’s easiest seeing what you don’t like. In accepting that, you can then look to what the opposite is of those traits are.
So for me I didn’t like how wishy washy, confused and flakey I always was. From there I concluded I wanted to be the opposite which was to be concise, clear, purposeful and living with conviction. From there I created a daily morning routine of building that feeling of conviction.
I started real small by drinking water every morning. In keeping that promise to myself my conviction grew. Just focusing on that led to the other qualities of clarity, purpose and being concise in my speech. Once I felt solid in my conviction, a desire to feel lighter, centered and learner was born and so I expanded my routine to include more exercise, a different meditation and a healthier breakfast.
Growing Resourceful Mental Habits
Over a year ago I was wrestling with myself about how to find the time to start this blog. In finally deciding I needed to be resourceful and prioritize better, I framed a few quotes around my house to get me thinking in those ways. I don’t know the origins of the first two, but they are “Life starts at the end of your comfort zone”, “Constraints fuel creativity” and “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can” by Arthur Ashe.
Systems Around Qualities
Qualities can be the core of the new identity you want to grow into and from there you can build habits that cue those internal states. In getting clear on those qualities and deciding that from this point forward, you will move towards being that kind of person, makes your resolutions to change, less about getting X,Y,Z done and more about who you are becoming.
Who do you want to be more of?
Take a few minutes to answer some questions about the kind of change you want.
What qualities do I want to imbibe?
Who do I want to be more of at work?
Who do I want to be more of in my friendships?
Who do I want to be more of in my family?
Who do I need to be more of when it comes to managing my finances?
What do I need to be more of when it comes to my health?
Some words, in no particular order, to give you ideas are:
clear of integrity practical
assertive resourceful calm
approachable appreciative lively
results oriented empowering encouraging
mature loyal selfless
self reliant self motivated modest
careful capable careful
neat organized expressive
cheerful spiritual stable
clean responsible reliable
diligent determined enthusiastic
shrewd wise brilliant
bold mindful focused
alert astute alert
astute passionate patient
fierce fit lean
resilient innovative intense
agile intelligent intuitive
Inviting aware satisfied
level headed brave ethical
enthusiastic shrewd wise
brilliant bold mindful
intentional aware satisfied
level headed brave ethical
energetic svelte strong
tolerant tough shrewd
passionate patient fierce
fit lean energetic
curious strong inspired
tolerant tough enthusiastic
purposeful receptive open
loving creative grateful
devoted insightful compassionate
accomplished graceful inquisitive
What 4 qualities do you want to most be more of in your work life, family life, relationships and your health?
Making The Systems
Now think of the kind of activities that incite and cultivate those qualities. Some questions to answer are :
What kind of daily habits of thought does a person with those qualities have?
What would they naturally be thinking when challenges come their way at work?
What would they naturally be thinking when in the car on a long drive?
What would they naturally be thinking in regards to their relationships?
When it comes to their health?
What kind of habits do they have in investing, spending, saving and speaking about their money?
What would they naturally be thinking when alone in their thoughts?
What would they naturally be thinking upon waking up and going to sleep?
What kind of weekly, monthly and yearly habits would that person have in their friendships?
How does that person think and behave upon recognizing a mistake?
What kind of habits do they have around exercise? Eating? Sleep?
What kind of habits do they have around how they live in their living space?
What kind of clothes does that person wear?
What kind of habits do they have around taking care of their clothes?
Picking out their clothes?
Buying their clothes?
How doe they carry themselves?
What kind of habits do they have around how they interact with the nature?
By breaking down what people with those qualities think and do, you can then take those things and begin to make them habituated parts of your day. In time, thinking in that way and doing those things becomes natural a part of you.
How do you go about making permanent change for the better? Is there a different way that has worked for you?
I’d love to know!
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Thank you for making me a part of your day!