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Driving with the Brakes on

Driving with the brakes on

Developing systems to accomplish goals is the only way that I have found to truly improve and consistently move towards the accomplishment of a goal.  Without addressing the systems behind the goal, I could only make incremental improvement and it always felt like a struggle.  

I can recall feeling that I needed to address some of the bad habits that I had regarding my health and I knew that I had to improve.  I made up my mind that I would run every day around the block.  I did this for several days but each day it seemed to get harder and harder to get myself motivated enough to do it.  I would see the number on the scale increasing instead of decreasing and soon the motivation would run out.  

Other times I would decide that I would only eat healthy foods.  I ordered salads and avoided all of the things that I enjoy.  Again I lost motivation after a few days and eventually found a reason to quit.  

It took me a while, but what I realized is that motivational alone doesn’t accomplish goals.  I also learned that motivation doesn’t last on its own.  This was surprising to me because there are countless individuals that made their living motivating audiences.  Obviously there is a desire to be motivated, but reaching a goal is more than feeling motivated.   

Relying on motivation to accomplish goals is like pressing harder on the gas to drive a car, except you still have the breaks on.  The brakes in this case are the systems behind the goal.  The systems are usually already created and they control our lives.  We call them habits, principles, tendencies, and routines.  They become established and solidified over time and we think that a little motivation is going to change us.  

Only by addressing the underlying systems can we gain control of our lives and consistently improve.  The underlying systems hold the answer to why we are who we are.  The great news is that the systems are adjustable.  With a little modification our systems can lead us towards our goals instead of away from them!