I’ve been thinking a lot about processes lately. The way things are done. Routines to help make things better for myself, my team, and others around me.
I love a good process. I can get lost in routine. I’ve learned that if I want to get anything done well, I need a habit to make it happen.
Eating healthy foods is one example. When I’m at home and I am surrounded my mostly healthy foods I make mostly healthy choices. I have set times when I eat and I know what I’m eating at those times. It’s a pretty well-oiled machine and it is part of what is helping me during my “Health Year.”
On the other hand, when I go to work in the office it’s a different story. For example, most of the days this week I went into the office. We had a virtual conference 2 of the days and a third day we had an All Staff event. Each of those days included lunch being brought in or going out to eat. Even when we don’t have events there are many times where there is just other food laying out for me to grab if I want it. None of which is really beneficial to me or fits my health goals.
Now, there is something to be said for my lack of impulse control. I can fully own that.
There is also something to be said for environment. If the environment you’re in doesn’t promote healthy eating then you’ll have a hard time staying on top of your desire to eat healthy foods. The environment you’re in matters.
But we’re talking about processes here. When I go into work at the office it throws off the processes that I’ve carefully built over time and that are working so well for me. It’s easy for the routine I’ve set up for myself to get unbalanced. I’ll have a meeting when I’m supposed to be eating and that throws off my meal timing. Or I didn’t prepare my meals ahead of time so I am a lot more tempted to eat the things that aren’t good for me.
This is why it’s so important for me to have my meals timed right and to know in advance what I’m going to eat. If I prepare in advance and eat when I am supposed to then I make sure that I am satisfied and I don’t over indulge as often.
It’s the “going-to-the-supermarket-when-you’re-hungry” conundrum, right? You will almost always buy more than you planned on buying, and buy more not-good-for-you foods if you go to the grocery store when you’re hungry then when you’re not. There’s probably a study that proves that I would bet.
Anyway, back to processes. James Clear says in the book Atomic Habits that “you don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.” So what you plan for, the processes you put in place, have everything to do with you being successful in meeting or exceeding your goals. It’s not the goals themselves, it’s the things behind the scenes that you put in place to help you achieve your goals that really matters.
Take a minute to think about your goals. Are you succeeding in meeting them? If so, it’s probably because you have a system in place that is helping you. Reaching a goal doesn’t happen on accident.
On the flip side, are you failing in meeting your goals? Take a look at the system (or lack thereof) you have in place. That system is probably letting you down somewhere.
At the end of the day, I know that I eat better and more healthy choices when I follow my plan of eating roughly the same things at the same time every day. It’s my system. When I get off that system things go south really quick.
The same is true for any goal or anything you want to accomplish. If you’re not succeeding in reaching your goals, get a better system or follow the system you already have in place. Give it time to do it’s job. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.