I credit the book “Atomic Habits” for getting me going in the right direction. “You do not rise to the level of your goals—you fall to the level of your systems.”
It’s nice to have a goal – “I WANT A STRONG UPPER BODY!” Sure. But as author James Clear lays out, you need a system.
My new system starts the night before.
I plug in my phone, and it stays on the other side of the room. This way I’m not tempted to wake up and start scrolling.
Next, I cover my phone with a note written from the previous night. At night I got goals, strength, power! In the morning, ahhh, I just want to crawl back under the covers. But with a note on my phone that says, “HEY! DO YOUR PUSHUPS,” it’s snaps me back to the system.
Oh, another part of my system is I can’t do my push ups until I stretch for 15 minutes. That’s another goal – stretching for 30 minutes a day. That, and launching right into push ups probably isn’t too good on the muscles anyways, so yeah, I get down on my mat and go through a stretch routine.
After my timer goes off at 15 minutes, then I can finally do my push ups. I started at five (don’t start your habit off by making it too difficult), but now I’m up to 10. They’re still not easy, but I’m building a habit, not training for a competition.
Once I’ve stretched and done my push ups, I really have no desire to crawl back into bed now with my phone. The blood is flowing, heart is pumping – let’s go! Make that bed! Make breakfast! Drink coffee!
Then, all without too much effort, my day is off to a great start. That’s my system.