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How to build a winning system

By Arvind Pandey
Published in Life & Productivity
August 14, 2022
2 min read

Since 2013, I have been able to run more than 100 [official + unofficial] marathons, including half, full, and ultra. For the past 10 months, I’ve consistently been a morning person. For the past 4 months, I’ve been going to the gym regularly. For the past 100 days I’ve been able to maintain a personal journal and it’s going strong.

I attribute my success to the system.. I have been able to build systems that helped me to achieve this. I’m going to share some of the key learnings.

What is a system?

As per Oxford:

A set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organised scheme or method.

For me, the simplified meaning of the system is - it’s a set of rituals for doing something that’s important, however boring it’s without looking for motivation or other external factors.

Why is the system required?

System is required so that one can stand different weather encountered in the process of achieving a goal. Most of the other factors are not durable and fall apart when things get serious - yes I’m talking about motivation and other external factors again.

None of my running requires motivation. I run because I enjoy the process. I love the overall system.

Here are the the five steps to build a winning system

1. Pick up a system that you wish to build

First and foremost, decide the new system you wish to build. Perhaps, you want to write everyday or want to become a morning person, or want to become regular at going to the gym. It is wiser to build one system at a time so that you are not fighting on multiple fronts.

2. Start small

As you are starting, don’t try to do anything crazy. Let’s say, your system is to move your waking time from 9:00 am to 6:00 am. It would be wiser to first start waking up at 8:00 am. Let the body and mind acclimatise to the new setup. Slowly move towards the time you wish to get up.

3. Lower the success criteria

If you are building a system to just get up in the morning, after waking up, do not engage in any activity that might induce sleep. Your body and mind is still adjusting, so after getting up, just relax, walk and enjoy the win.

4. Focus on showing up

Perhaps this is the most important part of building the system. Don’t fail to show up. If you deviate for a day or two, come back again. Start a new streak. But, come back and show up.

5. Make it fun and build social contract

None of the system will last if you don’t enjoy in the long run. To make it part of your life, make it fun. When I started waking up in the morning. I started clicking morning photos everyday.

beautiful morning
beautiful morning

Tell your family friend about the new system that you are building. By telling them, you are building a social contract and you will be less inclined towards breaking those contracts. If you are lucky you might get company as well. This is the photo I clicked when I started being a morning person and few of my friend joined too.

morning with friends
morning with friends

Share your ways of building systems.


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