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What positive addictions do you have?

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.  

What positive addictions do you have?

Scott Miker

When it comes to systems and habits improvement, we have to fall in love with the process. We have to find a way to enjoy doing the work so we can continue to do it and grow from it.

We don’t look at hard work as just something we have to do. It isn’t something to hate. It isn’t something to shortcut.

Hard work becomes the foundation on which we grow. We improve and get better and ultimately find success and happiness.

In Work the System by Sam Carpenter, the author says, “Most of us have at least one process in which we excel. For you, what is it, and why are you good at it? It’s probable that when you are in the midst of performing this process, you experience a delicious taste of precision and confidence. What you do well is your passion, and you take every opportunity to do it. It’s a positive addiction.”

Years ago I found myself in a very unhappy state. I was overweight and couldn’t bring myself to exercise or eat right. I tried and tried but I hated it.

I wanted to do anything but exercise. I wanted to eat anything but some boring vegetable or fruit.

But I came to the realization that part of my unhappiness was my lack of improvement in my health. I was letting myself go physically and I could feel it.

I tried a few different times to exercise but failed. I can still recall the moment I was at work and staring out the window to the parking lot thinking about my need to exercise. I started to think that it was no longer optional.

Because it was mandatory, I thought I might as well find something that I might not hate. Instead of forcing myself to start running (which never seemed to work) I thought about biking.

I thought maybe I could do that. So I went and borrowed my brother’s bike and started pedaling. To my surprise I didn’t hate it. In fact, I enjoyed it. It made me feel like a kid again, exploring the world around me.

I slowly transitioned from biking outside to using an indoor exercise bike. While I didn’t initially enjoy it much, I would try different routines until I found something that seemed enjoyable. I would listen to music, I would read motivational books, I would watch an interesting TV show etc.

Because I didn’t hate the work, I kept at it. I kept doing it and over time started to enjoy it more and more. Eventually I started to fall in love with the process of exercising.

Suddenly I was doing the hard work that seemed impossible and I was enjoying it. It almost feels wrong because I always thought for it to be beneficial you had to hate it.

But it became my positive addiction.

I have replicated this positive addiction in other areas of my life. Each time I took something I knew I should do but disliked and found a way to start slowly, build a positive habit, and then increase it until I started to see results.

Start to think about areas of your life that you wish to improve. Need to go back to school for an advanced degree? Find a way to love the process of learning.

Need to save money for a house? Learn to love the process of watching your savings grow and find ways to gain more money so you could put more in your account.

In any area you need to improve, learn to love the process. Turn it into a positive addiction. Doing so will get you to do the hard work. But instead of being miserable while you work, you will enjoy what you are doing and therefore do more of it.