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We're past the quarter-point in the year 2013, and by now you should have a pretty good idea on how well your new-years resolution, if you had one, stuck. Even if you just had a recent goal you've decided upon, now is a good time to check in and see how you are doing.
When you rely on willpower to make a change, it becomes very tiresome to consciously choose the 'right' thing to do all the time. If you decide to create a system change instead, the hard part is over with because you will become almost 'forced' to execute the change.
For instance, if you wanted to become more active this year, you could simply try to become more active (will power). Or, you could move your office to the attic. If the restroom is on the main floor, now several times a day you're climbing up and down the stairs (system change).
If you want to increase the number of miles you walk each week, let your neighbor or kids borrow your car a few days a week so you HAVE to walk to the convenience store instead of drive. Or join a softball team where everyone expects you to show up every week. (All system changes)
That's sure to be worth a few pounds, isn't it?
Those are system changes to your environment. They are far more likely to be done and become habits than resolutions are. Because, resolutions usually involve adding a new, completely optional activity. (Like rolling out of bed early and going to the gym at 6am when it's cold and dark out).
Notice the difference between using
"Will power" and System Change:
Will power: "I'm going to try to waste less time in my inbox this year."
System change: "I'm removing myself from 90% of the mailing lists I am subscribed to."
Will power: "I'm going to try harder to not lose my temper."
System change: "I'm going to attend yoga a couple times a week because when I do that I'm so much less stressed."
Will power: "I'm going to watch less TV this year."
System change: "I'm going to cancel cable and only watch a couple of shows on my laptop."
Will power: "I'm going to try to be more organized all year so my taxes are easier next year."
System change: "I'm going to bring materials into my accountant every month and if I don't show up ask him to call and remind me."
Because we all have a finite amount of energy and willpower to expend, the notion of 'trying harder' will only get us so far. System changes are better because they only require the initial willpower it takes to put them in place.
Resolutions based on "try" fail 80% of the time.
Resolutions based on changing the system succeed 80% of the time.
Food for thought, for sure!
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