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It takes time

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

It takes time

Scott Miker

Using the systems and habits approach to improvement you will start to make progress towards your goals.  You will improve and get better.  But it won’t be instant success.  In fact, it will probably take a long time to realize your goals and feel that you made a significant improvement in any area.

This is because the systems and habits approach to improvement uses time to help us grow.  Instead of hoping extreme effort will result in extreme results, we focus on subtle, consistent behavior changes. 

The behavior changes can be very small because we do them over and over again until they form habits.  Once they are solidified as habits, the behaviors then take little to no effort to keep going.

That is the key.  Getting to a point where you are following the systems without even thinking much about them.  Instead of a struggle to choose the right option, you consistently choose the right option and rarely need to pull your willpower to do so.

But what often happens to sabotage our efforts is we get impatient.  We don’t want to put in the long, hard work and then have to wait awhile to see the results.

So we start to use effort to do more.  We start to go to extremes thinking that this will accelerate the pace and bring the rewards sooner. 

But the problem is that gets us away from consistency.  We start to do as much as we can talk our self in to.   But this isn’t done regularly.  The key to forming a new habit is to do it consistently. 

Some people can go to extremes and keep it consistent.  But most of us trying to do this will just fail.  We have to start small and then slowly, over time build on those positive actions. 

If you are unhappy with the pace, start to slowly add more.  Raise your minimums a little.  But once you start to miss doing your minimums know that you are doing too much.  Then reduce the minimums to the smaller amount and get back on track.

Improving using the systems and habits approach to improvement requires a ton of patience.  The sooner you get comfortable with this patience the better.  Too many people pull away from this strategy in an attempt to accelerate improvement only to stop with the consistent behavior and find themselves back at the start before long.

But you can avoid this trap by sticking with the small actions you are taking.  If one day you want to do more, go ahead, but the next day allow yourself to do the minimum.  Don’t force it.  Forcing it is just impatient at work.