The Proven Way to Change Your Results

Are you satisfied with your results? If your answer is no and you want to improve them, then what you must do is this: Change the way you do things.

The fact is, your results come from your processes. They don’t come out of nowhere. Your exam grade, for instance, comes from your study.

So here is the principle: If you want to change your results, change your processes.

I came to realize this when I taught a course called Business Process Modeling at a college. One of the principles there is that a company’s results come from its processes. In fact, the processes can make or break the company. I then realized that the same principle also applies to individuals.

At the individual level, your processes consist of:

  • Your habits: the things that you do regularly. For example, your morning routine.
  • Your procedures: the steps you take to complete a task. For example, how you handle emails.
  • Your responses: the way you handle a certain situation. For example, how you deal with anger.

In this context, optimizing life is about improving your personal processes.

Here is how to do that:

1. Figure out the results you want to improve.

What are the things that you want to improve? They could be in any of the five aspects of life: work, health, learning, social, and spiritual.

For instance, you might want to read more books (learning) or reduce your weight (health).

2. Figure out the processes behind the results.

Once you figure out the results you want to improve, figure out the processes behind them. There could be more than one process for each result.

For instance, if you want to reduce your weight, then the processes could be the way you eat, rest, and exercise.

3. Find out how to improve the processes.

After figuring out the processes to improve, you should find out how to improve them. This might require a lot of research. You might want to read books or ask your friends, for instance.

Then, based on your research, you should choose a new process to follow. With exercise, for example, you might decide to do the 7-minute workout.

4. Implement the process.

This is the most difficult part of all. It’s one thing to figure out what to do; it’s another thing to actually do it. Persistence plays an important role here.

To help yourself, you might want to create a checklist of your new process. It will save your mental energy because then you won’t have to remember the steps.

5. Monitor the results.

After implementing the new process, monitor your results. Does the new process work? If it doesn’t, then find another way to improve it (back to step 3).

***

I believe this process-oriented mindset is essential for your self-improvement. It will make you see your life differently. You won’t blame someone else for your bad results. Instead, you will focus on the processes behind them.

Your life will become highly effective.

9 Comments

  1. Hi Donald.

    Thanks for the article. This subject never fails to be current, but especially at this time of year, when people have the idea of New Year resolutions and other such folly.

    Out of all the things you discussed here, all of which are extremely useful and relevant, there is one area that truly has allowed me to overcome my years of procrastination, and to move forward towards my dreams. To such an extent, I’m helping others to achieve their goals too, a skill I learned as a personal trainer and nutrition coach, skills that have crossed over really well into my present work.

    I have discovered that by setting simple trigger actions, tini pre-cursors to the actual habit you are trying to develop, success and adherence goes through the roof. It’s not just working for me, but for many others who I talk to and work with.

    So, what is a trigger action. Well, it ties in closely with the ‘procedures’ section you alluded too above. Most habits tend to be made up of steps, small actions that lead from one to another. These can obviously be negative or positive, but by creating a simple positive trigger as a pre-cursor to another sequence, results can be really amazing.

    As an example. For me to write 2000 words a day of the book I am working on, I know that I need to be away from home. There are just too many distractions here. I like cafes, and I am productive in them. I can write a heap and not lose focus at all.

    My trigger action is putting my laptop into my bag in the morning and getting in the car. Seems silly, but as long as that happens, I leave the house, park up, get to the cafe, and come out with 2000+ words completed.

    It’s similar to the person who hates the gym, but lays out their gym kit the night before, and only focuses on dressing in it the next morning. Once they are dressed for the gym, they go to the gym.

    Of course, the more you do this and get success, the easier it is to do it, and form a significant habit change.

    My lofty goal is to write a book a month, but once I have broken that down, and inserted the trigger action, I forget about the end goal. I just focus on the trigger, and the rest just happens.

    It would be awesome to hear what sort of triggers your readers use, or could come up with to help them with their habits.

    Thanks for the post, much appreciated.

    -S

  2. Always good to review the process. Thanks! The hardest thing for me is to straight up acknowledge that the system is broken or that I’m messing it up somehow, and then face these issues head on.

  3. Hello first of all I like to say that this article is a good one. Interesting perspective and well explained I enioyed it but I had to leave a comment because I want this (and future ) articles to be great ones. I’ll admit that I wanted to stop reading from the first moment but I’m not the kind of person to flame without analyzing. So the reason of this comment is to suggest next time please please don’t auto sabotage yourself by beginning with the most over-used cliche of all time , do some research it takes little time compared to the negative impact not doing it does. Einstein is wrongly attributed with that quote so just wanted to let you know. Don’t sabotage your work because it’s great. Good luck

  4. Donald
    I thnk the last point about revisiting the process if it’s not working is vital. That avoids giving up or carrying on with something that doesn’t work – 2 outcomes to avoid.

  5. People who are good at making changes often do a process similar to what you describe without even being aware of it. It’s a thing of beauty. But many struggle and have no clue how to figure out how to change and these steps are clear and usable. Stephen mentioned (in passing) in these comments that New Years resolutions are folly. Yup they sure can be but not always. I wrote about that recently because they can be helpful. Especially if backed by a process such as you describe.

    http://yakkityyaktalkingback.com/2015/01/04/new-years-resolutions-what-are-they-good-for/

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