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We've all heard people say "I have a system". Ever since I was a little girl and watched my mother put together a grocery list, I've known -- and used -- the power of systems.
Systems help take the frustration out of daily living. They help you do what you WANT to do in an easier, more consistent way. A system practically does the work for you.
You don't have to over-think it, you don't have to spend time figuring it out. It pulls you forward when you are tired, when you'd probably just throw in the towel and give up. It's Instant Willpower because it makes things easier.
Let me share some simple every day systems that I use to give me Instant Willpower.
#1. "Are these dishes clean or dirty?" That was a constant question in my house. I tried the clean/dirty dishwasher sign, but we always forgot to flip it over. Now a small custard dish stays in the dishwasher all the time. When the dishwasher runs, it gets full of water. When someone puts up the dishes, they simply empty the water in the dish, and put it back. Once glace - full or empty - tells you if the dishes are clean or dirty.
You already have a lot of systems in your life. Some of your systems work great, others not so well.
For example, in college a friend of mine got in a bit over her head, and discovered that she had more money going out than she had coming in. When I asked her how she decided what to pay, she grinned and said that she got them all in a pile, then threw them up toward the ceiling, and whatever stuck, that was what she paid. Considering all the late notices I was seeing, obviously, not a good system.
Now that's a silly example, but I mentioned it in order to stress the point that jst because you currently have a system, doesn't mean it's doing what it's supposed to do.
A good system is one that creates an environment that lets you be your best self.
#2. I'm never going to enjoy working out. It's just not my style. Over the years, I've tried many different activities, machines, gym memberships, you name it. I really want to exercise because I like the health benefits it gives me, but it's a challenge for me.
It was very easy to talk myself out of going to the gym (I could come up with a million excuses), or even walking to the bedroom to use the expensive piece of equipment I had dirty clothes hanging on (you too?).
I began to look for a system that would pull me forward, help me use that machine, help me go to the gym instead of making it far too easy to wimp out.
Now, as a caveat, let me say that I 100% believe in making a commitment to yourself and sticking to it. But we're human, after all. Sometimes we need that external force to help motivate us.
I decided to budget some money towards a personal trainer. (I could either buy a new couch, or try out the trainer, and quite simply I made a conscious decision to clean the couch and hire the trainer.)
The trainer comes to my home 2 times a week at a predetermined time. I could of course call him and skip my sessions. But he's paid in advance, he's ready and willing, and for whatever reason you want to call it, just knowing that he's scheduled is enough to get me into my tennis shoes and meet him with a smile on my face.
He's my system. He's my instant willpower.
A system set up correctly either pulls your forward to do what you want to do, or sort of "forces" you to do something that may not come very naturally.
#3 If you are trying to stop overspending at the mall, and you always use your credit cards, make a conscious effort and simply stop carrying them. That's a strategy or a system for finding a way to stop spending for things you don't really need, but may find it difficult to overcome in the moment.
Some people have a "24 hour rule", in which case they never buy unless they sleep on it. In the case of the credit cards, it will at the very least make you go home to get your cards, then return, which will give you time to think about it and make a conscious decision to overspend.
Systems work for things that you even love to do, but tend to let get pushed to the side by other more in-your-face things in your life. For example,
#4. I love to read, and my type of work demands that I read a lot. But because of that, I found that over the years reading for simple pleasure (mysteries are my choice) had fallen to the side. I joined a local book group, where you show up once a month and discuss a mystery book that the group has decided on. It gives me a target, and makes it easer to do something that I might otherwise let slide.
Take a look at your systems. Are they working? Or are you throwing the bills onto the ceiling and seeing what sticks. Try some Instant Willpower! It works
About The Author
Kathy Gates is a Professional Life Coach in Scottsdale Arizona. What is Life Coaching? It's Your Life, getting easier, happier, more joyful every day! Learn more at www.reallifecoach.com for products and services and sign up for her free newsletter
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