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Winners Have SystemsI was recently browsing through videos and I saw one titled “Losers Have Goals, Winners Have Systems”. Wow, that is a bold statement!

A few years ago I would have rolled my eyes and looked right past it. My dad taught me the importance of goals and I grew up seeing how effective they can be.

But today, I can look at that headline and nod my head in agreement. So I shamelessly stole the title for this blog post. I recently listened to an audio book for Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less. I get it now.

You will not accomplish your goals unless you establish a system to do so.

I have found that I am pretty critical of myself. I love to achieve my goals, but I can come down on myself when I don’t. I don’t know how many goals I have set to lose wieght over the years ago to see some minor improvements, lose the drive, then forget about the goal completely.

Our company recently started offering employees $50 per month to put towards fitness goals (exercise equipment, gym membership, etc.). I decided to get a gym membership.

I don’t have a good track record with gyms. For most of my life my motto has been “I don’t believe in exercise unless its in the form of a sport.” That hasn’t served me well in recent years. Team sports require scheduling and depends on other people or weather conditions. If your best exercise time is at 5:00 AM you are going to have a hard time rounding up a group to play basketball or ultimate frisbee at that time of day.

So when I signed up for the gym in December, I decided my goal was to go three times per week. Notice this is really a system goal. I don’t have a goal to run x number of miles on the treadmill, squat xxx lbs. or bench xxx lbs. Frankly, I don’t care if I just go to the gym and all I do is shower. My only goal at this point is to go to the gym. If I enter those doors, I’m successful.

How is it working? So far great. I’ve been going for 3 months straight. I’ve developed mini systems in the process. The night before I go to the gym, I fill up my gym bag with everything I need and lay out my clothes for the next day. I have an alarm on my phone which I set by my clothes. When the alarm goes off I have to get out of bed to turn it off. At this point I’m am there standing by clothes and gym bag so it doesn’t take much effort to get dressed in the dark (so my wife can continue to sleep), grab my bag and head out the door. I don’t shower before the gym so I know I have to at least go there to shower (and don’t know if the proper ediquette is to shower before going to the gym. If so, don’t tell me because I don’t want to know!).

I’ll be honest there have been a couple of mornings where I have gone in so tired from being up late working EnvelopeBudget or something that when I get to the gym I’ll walk on the treadmill for 5 minutes, then say “screw it!” and hit the showers. But, pretty much every morning I go, the motivation hits me once I walk in and go I go through my routine – run 1 mile on the treadmill, Squats, Bench Press. I’m not even to the point of tracking how much I squat and bench press. I do this core workout and call it good.

So since this is a budgeting blog, not an exercise blog, what systems can you develope to improve your personal finances?

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Log into the site ever night before bed and categorize your transactions.
  • Never log out if you have any negative envelope balances. Don’t allow yourself to see red.
  • Set up a regular time each week or each month to have a budget meeting with your spouse. Bring treats to entice your “free spirit” to come. 😉
  • If you haven’t done so, set up auto bill pay for all your regularly re-occuring bills & expenses where you can.
  • Put a recurring time each month or week on your calendar to handle all bills that come in that you can’t set up on auto-pay. This would be a good time to scan & file any paperwork as well.

Have you established any other systems that help you with your finances? If so, please share in the comments below!

High Performance Achievement - DaveRamsey.comRecently I saw that Dave Ramsey had a sale on all his audio books. I already owned most of them through Audible.com (<– affiliate link). There were a few I didn’t have: The audiobooks to the Jr. Series and an audio titled “High Performance Achievement“. I purchased both. With the sale it cost me a total of $8.00.

Last weekend I was painting my kitchen ceiling. I decided to put on the High Performance Achievement audio. I didn’t really know what it was about. It turned out to be a 30 minute training that Dave gave in one of his weekly company meetings.

He took his experience of training for and completing his first (and last) marathon and turned it into a parable for accomplishing many things in life.

It was so good I listened to it three times! It was the best way to pass the time of rolling paint on a ceiling.

While he talked about preparing and running a marathon, that’s not really what it is about — though it *almost* made me want to train for a marathon. But, since I just herniated my L5-S1 disc for the second time and I can’t feel my left leg from the knee down right now, I don’t really feel like putting this on my bucket list at the moment.

The bullet points:

  1. Establish a big hairy audacious goal.
  2. Plan out the incremental steps.
  3. Find people who have accomplished the same or similar goals and study how they did it.
  4. Heed the warnings of the experts, but don’t let those become negatives.
  5. Decide what you’re willing to sacrifice to hit high performance achievement.
  6. Keep away from negative people and get around positive influences.
  7. Visual your plan in your mind repeatedly.
  8. Finishing is winning. Celebrate your win.

A lot of the audiobooks I listen to are business related. While this one is business related, it really can be related to anything in life. It is an audio I would have my wife and kids listen to.

I highly recommend it.