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How are you going to get there?

How are you going to get there?

Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve and potential obstacles that you will need to overcome, it is now time to start building a system.  For me the answer to the question "how will you reach this goal" is always going to be "through a system."  It is something that I will implement that, if followed, will lead me to where I want to go.

First evaluate the goal or area of improvement and ask "what has to change or be implemented for me to be successful?"  This will give you insight into what you need to do consistently to make this change.

Next ask "how can I develop a new process that will effectively take me to that goal?"  This can be adding a new exercise routine or reducing your spending to save more money.  Regardless of what change you need to make, for it to be effective, you must have a new process.  Change the process to avoid the common response of many, which is that they will "just change."  

Somehow after a motivational speaker, I feel that I will change based on some new insight.  The reality is that within a few days I am back to my old routine and forget all about the message from the speaker.  The ONLY way that I have found to be able to actually make meaningful change after seeing a great speaker is to create a new system to incorporate the message!

There are two ways to prompt a reaction in a system.  Ask yourself "is this new system/process something that is consistent or something that is triggered by an external stimuli?"  If you want to stop smoking you will have to consistently avoid smoking in the car but also be able to avoid the triggers to smoke, such as your coworker asking you to join them on a smoke break.

Next ask "how can I simplify the system but still be effective?"  This is important but is often overlooked.  When someone wants to lose weight they figure they will join a gym and work out for 4 hours every day.  Instead of saying that you will do something BIG like work out for 4 hours, start small and say that you will work out for 10 minutes every day.  I don't believe someone when they say they are "going to start" to work out.  But I would believe someone that said they work out consistently every day for 10 minutes and are planning on increasing it to 30 minutes every day.  Incorporate systems that can be increased over time rather than all at once.  

The last thing you want to ask yourself when developing your system is "is this new system reasonable?"  This question follows the previous one but it is important to truly ask yourself if this new system is something that you will do.  Again if you decide to never eat fast food but currently eat it every day, it is probably unreasonable which will cause you to stray from your new system and give up.  I encourage you to take small steps and only increase the steps when you are ready.  Don't make the mistake of biting off more than you can chew!

Learning how to build systems will take time.  It is a mindset and lifestyle that automatically evaluates situations and objectives systematically.  This mindset can be extremely powerful and can make achievement very easy and automatic!

Example 

I recently applied for additional life insurance.  I had to answer some general questions and pass a physical.  I wasn't worried because I trust my nutrition and exercise systems and maintain a healthy BMI.  

I was shocked when I received my results.  Everything was normal, except my cholesterol was high.  I didn't understand how my cholesterol was high.  I ate a lot of vegetables and exercised daily.  After some research I realized that genetics were a factor and many of the things that I ate were high in cholesterol.  Despite my healthy lifestyle this showed an areas of weakness in my systems.  I decided to change my systems to improve this.

First I did some research and asked "what has to change or be implemented?"  I decided to modify my eating habits.  I would cut out a lot of the extra flavoring that I use, such as butter, cheese and dressing.  I would also become even more disciplined when it comes to unhealthy food like red meat, fried foods and trans fats.  

I then asked "how can I develop a new process that will effectively help me lower my cholesterol?"  This meant that I would plan my meals every week.  I would get rid of the things around the house that were unhealthy and substitute healthy alternatives.  I stopped buying ice cream and substituted applesauce and cinnamon.  I vowed to stop eating out to avoid choosing unhealthy options.  

Then I asked "is this consistent or triggered?"  Many of my meals would fall under the consistent category but I also realized that I was often presented with free food at work.  I addressed both of these and made sure that I had plenty of healthy options at work and would pass on many of the unhealthy lunches that were provided.

Next I asked "how can I simplify the system but still be effective?"  I did more research to see what foods I already enjoy that were low in cholesterol and saturated fats.  This way I don't have to change to eating foods that I hate.  I can just change to foods that I enjoy that also happen to be better for me.

Finally I asked "is this new system reasonable?"  Evaluating the system I realized that I could not truly get rid of eating out.  I spend a lot of time with family and friends as well as important work meetings at restaurants.  It would be very difficult to eliminate that.  Instead of getting rid of eating out at restaurants, I decided that I would spend time, when possible, looking over a menu prior to going to the restaurant and choosing a healthy alternative.  It is always easier for me to choose a healthy alternative before I am hungry and looking at a menu at a restaurant.  

This example shows that a system to improve doesn't have to be extreme or difficult, to be effective.  As long as I can make these small lifestyle changes I can expect to see a reduction in my cholesterol.  I am planning on scheduling a physical in a few months to track my progress.  If I am successful I will maintain the new system.  If I am unsuccessful I will look for more systematic ways to improve!