Yes, you heard me. I was in a weight loss diet. The main goal of that diet was to get leaner so that it will help me to improve my cycling. What an irony it is, people start cycling to lose weight, I wanted to lose weight to cycle better.
Okay let me explain. As I am training for races, losing my weight will help improving my speed in elevations a.k.a riding up the hill (Not to mention the fact that my coach kicked me out recently as I was irregular in training because I have my day job, side projects, coding nights and have to train with 8 hours of sleep). Also keeping your upper body somewhat tapered will improve your aerodynamic position on the bike and will ultimately reduce the air drag. Oh, I realize I am going too much into cycling which I always do when I talk to people around me and they will pretend that they love to hear about it. But let me stop right here. The whole point of this post is to talk about systems and how anyone can use them in their day to day life to achieve desired outputs.
Talking about goals and systems, I recently read Scott Adam's book, "How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life" where he strongly emphasized few facts about goals and systems. I found out that even before reading that book I coincidentally followed what he suggested and got best results.
Goals are for Losers. Passion is BullShit.
Let me start by telling you the story of how I lost 15kg in 2.5 months. With my own reasons for my diet, I decided to cut off my carbohydrates or consume as low carbs as I could so that my body will get adapted to fat by making it as my primary fuel for energy. They call it LCHF diet, keto, paleo or with whatever terms. All I knew was I need to cut my carbs and increase my fat intake.
I started tracking whatever I eat on a simple evernote template (Disclaimer: DO NOT follow this. This was my personal eating habits and I knew what I was doing, I am not responsible for your health). I color coded the food I ate, that is, I highlighted it with red if it was a junk food which I know I should avoid, orange ones are the food that contained more carbohydrates than my diet would require. Every week, I tried keeping the red and orange entries to minimum. I also stepped up on the weighing scale and noted my weight every Sunday morning. I followed the same food habits daily, tracked them on the same sheet daily, did workouts on the same time daily, tracked my weight weekly. And after 60 days I realized that I lost 10kg. Then 5Kg in 15 more days. Finally I trimmed down to 63kg from 77kg.
Passion is overrated, System is all we need!
In the book, Scott Adams says that goals are for simple situations. But the world outside is pretty complicated. The future is always uncertain, you will not know how the economy changes, how a new tech will disrupt the market either by creating millions of jobs or by taking them. If you stick to a goal assuming the events in future, the odds of success are very less. Its always a moving target, you have to roll with the punches. So instead of just defining a goal, you should define a system first. Then eventually, on the move you will define your goals and a meaningful success.
Imagine, when I started the diet I blindly establish that trimming down to 65kg in 2 months as my ultimate goal. Do you think I would've made it?. Let me tell what would've happened in my case.
During the first 25 days of my diet, I did not find any changes in the body weight. If I was with a goal of reducing my weight to 15kg in two months, after seeing no changes in my weight nearly for a month, I would've burnt out. As passion comes with the cost of will power, I would've lost my will power and motivation. When every week I stepped on the weighing machine with all the workout and the diet I followed, after seeing the same fricking number, I would've fed up at one point. But instead of having passion, goals, motivation and will power as my driving factor. I had a system. I already prepared a chart on what I should be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Even though I did not follow it strictly, I noted down what all I was eating and tried to cut off the unhealthy foods. I followed my food menu daily, weekly I tried keeping the food highlighted in red (junk food) to minimum until it became nil. I followed the system, every day, every week again, again and again. And here I am with the results I wanted to see.
I can think of one more possible scenario. Let us take, even without a system I reduced the weight in 2 months. Eventually I would have got back to the original weight again. Why?. Because after reaching that number I would've achieved a state of satisfaction, my motivation and will power would've been reduced, my brain will think that I already achieved my goal. Since I had a system in place which I am following till now, it helped me to maintain that same weight past 4 months, also it helped me to completely change my eating habits and my lifestyle. I guess that change in the lifestyle of eating right food wouldn't have come if I have not set a system and did that repeated task again, again and again.
Losing 15kg in X months is a goal, Learning to eat right is a system.
Aiming for a job in higher management is a goal, Making yourself more valuable for variety of jobs or keeping yourself always capable to goto work for other company anytime is a system.
Increasing your income next year by 20% is a goal, Learning different ways to grow your money and investing regularly is a system.
Right now you should've realized the importance of a system. The world runs on it. You can leverage the power of a right system to accomplish anything, even your side projects. If you want to do something, just set a time daily, show up to work, work on the tasks, track those tasks and keep an eye whether you are going towards its success path.
If you have come this far, I presume that you are interested in a system. So, let me give you a small homework. Pick one small thing that you always wanted to do but you miss that in your busy schedule. It might be as simple as from, keeping in touch with your friends to, working on a big side project. Come up with a schedule, show up as per schedule and you know the rest.
Let me know about that one small thing which you want to accomplish and how you are coming up with a proper system for it, either in comments here or a tweet.