As an engineer, I’ve been taught to think of the world in terms of systems. This has translated especially well into my attempts at operating as an adult, specifically towards finances and exercise. Two of my favorite self-help gurus, Tim Ferris and Ramit Sethi, preach the tremendous effects that a well-tuned system can have on your life. I’ve been able to adopt Ramit’s finance system pretty easily, but Tim’s workout system has been far more difficult. I think it comes down to the incentives that drive the systems.
Ramit advocates automating your finances in I Will Teach You To Be Rich. I have all of my bills and investments automatically deducted from my bank account. This leaves me with a stash that I can do whatever I want with. This system did require me to change up my behavior. I’m far more conscious of my spending, but I don’t feel limited, I actually feel liberated. The best part is watching the value of my bank account and investments increase, and I think that’s the most powerful incentive driving the system. Money is really exciting, especially when it’s yours.
Tim’s system in The Four Hour Body is all about finding the minimum work necessary to achieve maximum results. I really love this concept. We all have finite time, so it’s silly to waste it doing unnecessary work. I attempted his four hour per month workout regimen, but I couldn’t get myself to finish it. I’ve also attempted other workout routines that required more commitment, most significantly, P90X. Of course, I couldn’t finish any of them. With any system, it all comes down to the incentives. The results of exercise are that you feel better, more energetic, healthier, etc, but the issue that I keep coming to is that I don’t know how to turn these results into a number. I don’t have weight issues, so that number can’t help. I guess I need to create a scoring system that rewards me for doing well and takes away points for skipping workouts.
Anyone know of any sites that are already doing something like this? I’d love to start leveling up. If not, I’ll have to start developing it on my own.
[UPDATE] I did find this website: Fitocracy. Its still in beta, but I’m excited to get my invite!
5 thoughts on “Leveling Up”
Thanks for posting two blogs that instead of ‘self help’ make me feel entirely useless, unmotivated, and unsuccessful. Ugh
I’m not trying to help OTHER people! Besides, you’re teaching me how to cook. thats the most important skill of all time. Otherwise, I’d starve and die.
This is where I love a pen and paper. This is where I love a good old fashioned day-timer. Writing is a lost art. Notes on my blackberry just doesn’t feel the same. One of the things I like to do when I come home from work is write down everything I accomplished in the day and put down a check mark next to it. Helps reduce the cordisol levels right away. Giving yourself credit. Being too systemized can be problematic because you never want to disappoint yourself. Nothing like setting yourself up to fail so always be true to what is realistic. Everything gets done, everyone has a different pace. There is always more than one way of doing things. Being out in the new world away from classrooms and “vacations” is a whole new discipline. Good to think, good to figure it out by writing……
Thanks Barb! I can definitely be overly analytic at times. I’m working on making plans but being cool with breaking them.
You bring up some great points to think about. The world’s yours.