Easy to Understand Hard to Implement
Easy to Understand Hard to Implement
When I discuss how to use systems to reach goals, I often find there is a huge misunderstanding. They see the financial spreadsheet that I use for budgeting and they say something like “I don’t want to be robotic and constantly doing math.” I was a little taken back by this at first, but over the years have come to understand that this is a very common reaction. They are simply feeling resistance to change and putting up their defenses before they even know if this can help them.
A better way to look at systems is to call them habits. The reason I avoid this term is that I have found most people look at the negative side of habits. They look at bad habits in their lives. The reality is that without habits, we couldn’t do anything.
We wake up and go through a whole routine in the morning, which usually includes driving to work, without analyzing each step. I don’t have a complex math equation to determine if I am going to brush my teeth today. I simply continue to go through the routine. Using systems to solve problems is the only way that I have found to control that routine. It provides us insight into habits and steps for creating the habits that we want.
It is easy to convince people that exercising in the morning can improve their health. Actually implementing that over a long period of time is extremely difficult. But, I have found that I can turn that into a habit, a part of my morning routine. It becomes so automatic that it is equivalent to showering in the morning or taking vitamins. I did this by understanding systems.
As much as systems work to help with things like paying off debt, exercising and quitting smoking, it works for things like being friendlier to coworkers, being more content in your daily lives, or becoming a better public speaker. That is the amazing thing that I have found with systems.
I first learned that businesses are a series of systems and the best businesses usually entail the best systems. Places like McDonalds can hire entry level workers, open anywhere in the world, and be successful. Is this because they bring in the best burger chefs? Is it because they got lucky? Is it because their food is amazing? I think we all know that these aren’t the reasons McDonald’s is so successful. Business people have relied on systems for years to catapult their business and achieve great things and McDonalds is a great example of that.
When I was running a business I started to implement systems and found an incredible boost in the business. Over time I started to do research and read a lot of the books that address habits such as 7 Habits of Effective People. That is when I realized that I was able to create the sales routine and turn it into a habit. I then started to do the same thing to my personal life with great success. It was incredibly relieving to learn how to control habits and accomplish goals.
The one thing that I always think about when I discuss this with groups, is that this isn’t a shortcut. It is, actually, the opposite of a shortcut. This is just the “how” part of doing it the long way. The problem this solves is that over time we all seem to forget how to actually do things the right way and instead look for shortcuts. Just look to all the “Get Rich Quick” Schemes and diet pills for evidence that our society values the shortcut at all costs.
Systems can be used to solve almost any problem in life and reach any goal. Whether you want to get rid of a bad habit, or finally get control of your spending, creating a system to move you towards success is the best strategy. This is the only consistent way to improve over time.