“Goals are for losers. Systems are for winners.” I love this approach to self improvement as it avoids the inevitable self-loathing and focus on “what’s wrong with me?” and instead sets up a path for a mindset of positive growth by leaning on systems that can be followed to create awesomeness.
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It was midnight-ish, January 2nd, 2016, the beginning of a brand new year and I was up late reading online, looking for inspiration on new year’s resolutions. I was seeking goals with which to lord over myself during the coming year. I was looking to set goals to highlight my inadequacies and inevitable shortcomings in an attempt to better myself in the coming year. What I found were systems, and they are so much better.
We had just returned from our annual pilgrimage East to visit family for the holidays. As usual, the visit was full of feasting, over indulgence and awesome late nights catching up with our loved ones. Now we were back home, managing the unpacking, school planning and inevitable blood sugar crash as we readjusted to our normal diet. Firing up my favorite blogs, I began reading what others had publicly stated would be their focus for the coming year when I stumbled on this post from traipsingabout.com. In it, Dakota quotes Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame): “Goals are for losers. Systems are for winners.” I love this approach to self improvement as it avoids the inevitable self-loathing and focus on “what’s wrong with me?” and instead sets up a path for a mindset of positive growth by leaning on systems that can be followed to create awesomeness.
my systems for 2017:
1) The Slow-Carb Diet (body, weight)
2) Strength Training using Steve House’s Training for the New Alpinism(body, fitness)
3) Use Mint (Later I found Personal Capital which I prefer) (keep track of finances and get out of debt)
4) Buying a domain and learning WordPress (write more)
So now it’s time for the year in review. How did these systems do in supporting their underlying goals? Let’s review what went well, what needs work in 2018 and hint at what our systems for the new year will be:
What went well:
1 and 2.The slow carb diet, wow! I have always struggled with weight fluctuation. I have lost significant weight in the past but the last time was due to some serious caloric restriction and hard training back when I was teaching Parkour. This time felt great and I lost a ton of weight! Check out my post on how I lost 28 pounds in two months! The weight loss was supported by all the training I was doing for Mt. Rainier. There was a lot of time in the gym and plenty of time hiking uphill carrying a heavy pack. I entered into the spring climbing season light and strong and managed to climb my goals (two 5.11bs) in the first weekend of the season!
3. Thanks to this quote, “That which gets measured gets managed” – P. Drucker, 2017 will forever be known as the year we found the FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early) community. We have gone from being total financial morons to crushers of consumer debt and are well on our way to our goal of being Dirtbag Millionaires! This has been a year of intense learning. Uncountable hours spent reading books, websites and listening to new podcasts. It’s been a bit like taking 101 courses side by side with advanced master’s courses but we are departing 2017 with a strong eye on the future and a plan on how to get there.
4. More writing:The blog has certainly been a powerful tool to get me writing more. This year I published 28 posts. That’s 28 more than in 2016!
Room for improvement:
- Weight has crept up in the final months of the year and the slow-carb diet proved to be difficult to keep up on the road. There has to be a way to do this on the road.
- Like every year, a strong spring season led to detraining over the summer and lackluster fall season performance. This shit needs to end.
- We still have consumer debt in the form of our van loan payment. This was intentional as we wanted to get into VTSAX this year, but it’s time to crush out the car payment. Never again will I take on another car payment.
- 28 posts in a year!? That’s it? Seriously dude, you are writing but you are going to need to write a whole lot more if you want to take this blog to the next level.
Now it’s your turn:
You don’t have to wait until the New Year to put systems into place for yourself. (Though it seems like the time many of us do) Think about something you would like to get better at. Maybe it’s hitting the next grade as a rock climber, maybe it’s finding the courage to talk to that interesting/ attractive person in your life, maybe it’s finally paying attention to and getting a grip on your finances so that you can escape the rat race and live the life of your dreams. Whatever it is, there is a system out there for you to follow until you can make it your own.
Along the way I think you will find yourself approaching the next year with an increased sense of awesomeness and anticipation as you reflect on and build upon your systems for growth and improvement.
So what are your thoughts? What would you like to spend the next year working on? Post your ideas in the comments and I will do everything I can to help you find a system that will guide you towards success.
See you out there,
What are the systems that guide your life? Share them with us in the comments below.