Commitment + Systems = Change
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that at some level you want to create positive change in 2021. Maybe it’s for your industry. Maybe for your organisation or team. Maybe it’s just for you. How set up are you to do that successfully? Here are some ideas that I reckon help a huge amount.
In January 2020, I made a commitment to publishing a blog every week for the rest of the year. In previous years, I’d published on average every two weeks, which was kinda comfortable for me. Yet I wanted to experiment with upping the frequency so I could test out a few questions I had:
- Would my audience (you) value more frequent thoughts from me?
- Would I have enough to say?
- How would my approach to writing change?
I’m pleased to say that I’ve stuck to that commitment. Every week, including through the craziness of COVID lockdowns, I’ve published a new post via my newsletter. Has it been easy? No way. Some weeks I’ve been scratching for ideas, or simply scratching for time. Sometimes, when I press ‘send’, I’ve been wracked with doubts about whether it’s any good (and sometimes it hasn’t been, to be honest!)
Yet, sticking to my commitment has challenged me to pay more attention to my experiences and thoughts. I’ve sharpened my focus by believing that capturing and sharing what I’m thinking about is probably going to be useful to you in some way.
My commitment to writing more regularly has also got me out of my own way. It’s lessened my tendency to overthink stuff. Knowing that I need to produce something each week has helped me just get on with it and make it happen.
As a result, I’ve shared more stuff with the world and reached more people. Do you value these more frequent thoughts? Well, it appears so, given the stats. My posts get shared more widely. I get more positive feedback. More people subscribe. And given that I’m all about making a positive impact on the world, it all seems worthwhile :-)
I’ve also learned that good systems make commitment easier. They remove the friction. Without good systems, all the commitment in the world will slowly be eroded. As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says “You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”
My systems to help me publish weekly included:
- Carrying a little black Moleskine notebook everywhere I go, so I can capture thoughts on the fly
- A simple template to write into, to make my creative process more focused
- Having a weekly publishing deadline of Thursday mornings
- Having my Business Manager, Belinda, do all mechanics of publishing the post
- A folder in my email called Positive Comments, where I store all of the feedback I get from readers. I scan this every now and then to keep my motivation high.
The point of all this? Commitment is key. Systems smooth the process. Put both together and you get change happening with more impact and less drama. And that’s got to be a good thing.
What commitments and systems do you want to have for 2021? Write those down. Go tell someone, and then just start.
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