Ep 56 | The System’s Mindset: It’s Not Willpower, That’s the Problem

By Kim Strobel

August 23, 2021

This is the last episode of the Mindset Series. We’ve covered the Happiness Mindset, the Self-Care Mindset, the Belief Mindset, and the Manifestor’s Mindset. Now we bring it all together in the System’s Mindset. 

People feel frustrated when they can’t take the actions they need to make sustainable progress in their lives. It’s not that we lack the ability or the willpower to make healthy changes in our life—it’s that we don’t have systems or blueprints to follow. We need accountability and a vision for who we want to become. 

Take a look at the stats. According to The American Society for Training and Development, of people who…

  • Consciously decide to set a goal, only 25% achieve their goal.
  • Decide when they will do it, 40% achieve their goal.
  • Plan how they will do it, 50% achieve their goal.
  • Commit to someone else they will do it, 65% achieve their goal.
  • Have a specific accountability appointment with the person they committed to (a coach), 95% achieve their goal!

We gravely overestimate the effect of tiny, small changes in our lives and we give up way too easily because we aren’t seeing results fast enough. Believe it or not, you don’t have to take massive action to get massive results. In fact, you can treat your life like compound interest and stay laser-focused on an area of improvement, taking small actionable steps to create a ripple effect in your life. Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously extract your old beliefs, and to download a new set of beliefs that match up with the reality you want to create.

Listen On: iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | Spotify

What You’ll Learn From This Episode

  • Why it’s not your willpower that’s preventing you from reaching your goals. 
  • If you’re having trouble with incorporating habits in your life, your system is the problem. 
  • How tiny changes create remarkable results. Remember that success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.
  • The purpose of building a system. 
  • How to build good habits and break bad ones. 
  • How to shift your internal blueprint to create results. 

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” – James Clear

If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, we’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, post it to your Instagram Stories and tag me @kimstrobeljoy.

Helpful Links

Register for the Happy Academy! 

Schools and teachers register here

Businesses, organizations, and individuals register here

Atomic Habits by James Clear

About Kim

Kim Strobel is Chief Happiness Officer at Kim Strobel Live Events and Retreats. She is a teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, happiness coach, and a mission-minded person whose passion helps others overcome their fears and discover their joy!

You can follow Kim’s journey on Instagram at @KimStrobelJoy, and in the free private, She Finds Joy Facebook community.

 Love this episode and want to continue the conversation with me and other like-minded individuals? Join the free private, She Finds Joy Facebook community.


Kim Strobel 00:06 

Hi, everyone, it's Kim Strobel here. And before I get started on today's podcast episode, I just want to give you my loyal listeners a big shout out, and just let you know that I see you, I'm tracking you, I can get on my map and see who's tuning in from Michigan, who's tuning in from Finland, who's tuning in from Russia, of course, it doesn't give me your name, but it shows me all of the people across this whole wide world who are downloading and listening to the she finds joy podcast every week. And then of course, I see you, when you tag me on Instagram at Kim Strobel joy, or you jump in the she finds joy Facebook group and you share the podcast with your friends, it gives me a great opportunity to actually connect with you and say, Hey, there you are. There's my loyal listener and just to kind of know what's resonating with you What is having an effect on your life. And it's just an honor to be able to show up for you in this way. And to walk with you through this thing called life. 


Again, just want to take a moment to say hello, I see you. And I'm really thankful that you're here with with me. We've been discussing on the last several podcast episodes all about these life changing mindsets. And we talked about the happiness mindset in an earlier episode and how that it's not necessarily that, you know, success comes first, right that when we really put our well being at the forefront of our lives, when we put our happiness at the forefront of our lives, it is that very thing that accelerates what we're able to achieve. Because when our brain is that positive versus negative or neutral or stressed, then our brain is 31% more productive. Our brain is 10 times more engaged in its everyday life and its work life, our brain is three times more creative. And it's for this very reason that I do a lot of happiness coaching in schools, in businesses in organizations, because we're really starting to understand that having the happiness mindset and working towards that is really having a positive effect in all of our lives. And so it's understanding that we can take control of our happiness. 


And we can actually create happiness habits in our life, that will really make us leap forward in all areas. And then if you haven't listened to the happy mindset episode, you're gonna want to backup about four episodes and find it. Because after we talked about the happiness mindset, we talked about the self care mindset and being able to put our well being at the forefront. You know, it's so easy to kind of think that we're being selfish when we give to ourselves. I think that for some reason human beings, and especially female human beings have the hardest time really learning to love themselves. And I think why can't we not love ourselves? Why is it so easy to love our children and love our parents and love our dogs. 


But we can't love ourself enough to know that we can give to ourselves. And so creating sustaining self care practices is so important to our well being. And so we talked about that in an entire podcast episode. And then we went on to the belief system episode and we talked about in order to achieve your goals, how you have to take on the identity, you have to have a belief that supports that which you want to achieve, and that you have to embody that within you. But you know, these belief systems are ingrained in us from the ages of zero to six, most of us have already formed our belief systems. And believe it or not, those very belief systems are the things that are responsible for how we show up in life, what we do, how we navigate life, the risks, we take the risks, we don't take them, how we talk to ourselves, how we talk to others, how we navigate relationships, what we're willing to go after in our life, and in our career, it all comes to these beliefs. But we have to be able to download a new set of beliefs, ones that really sustain us and ones that are really working towards the version of us that we want to show up. And so we talked a whole lot about that. And then the fourth podcast episode in this series, so we had the happiness mindset, the belief mindset, the self care mindset, I think I got those last two turned around. And then we talked about the manifest mindset and how it Your thoughts, and what you're constantly putting out there, that is always being mirrored back to you. 


So we're either living our life on default, or we're living our life by intentionally creating more of what we want. And let me just be honest, you know, don't think that I have all of these mindsets perfectly down pat, because I'm a human being, I make mistakes, I have to work on my belief mindset. Sometimes I have to do the internal work to shift some of those hard core beliefs. Sometimes I have to go back and revisit my happiness habits and get stronger about those things. I am constantly working on my own life. But I've also learned a lot from James clear, he is the author of atomic habits, I'll drop that in the show notes. It's an amazing book. And he has this quote, and the quote says, you do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems. And that is why I'm ending this five part series with the system's mindset. And what he says is that no matter how many times we try to shift our life, why is it so difficult for us to make the transition from a scarcity mindset, to an abundant mindset, so that we can attract more abundance in our life? Or why can't we make the shift from feeling really frustrated with our partner, or our marriage, to actually doing the hard work of making the changes to make the marriage go from just okay, or contentment to exceptional some of the time. Or what about the person who wants to launch their own business or become a public speaker or write their own book? Again, it's not that it's that you don't have the willpower to make these things happen.


 It's not that you don't have the willpower to lose the weight. It's not that you don't have the willpower to make healthy food choices. It's not that you don't have the willpower to chase after your business dream or to write the book, or to have the difficult conversation or to work on your marriage. It's not that you don't have the willpower to make it happen. It's not that you're just lacking in that ability. It's that you don't have the internal framework, the background processes in place, the system in place that enables you to be successful toward that goal. And I really want you to hear that, quote, my friends, I really want you to hear that, quote, you do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems. And a system is a framework that you follow. And the more you follow that framework, the more you're held accountable, the more you have made the necessary adjustments in the framework that support you towards the success of your goals, the higher your chance is of actually being able to make those changes in your life. 


Now, let me give you an example. Because again, I'm always working on this. And as most of you know, one of my goals has been to write a self help book a number one best selling New York Times self help book. And I've had this goal for a really long time. And I really haven't been making any progress on it. And I would tell myself, I'm going to sit in my office once a week and write for two hours. And guess what, it never happened. I could not make it happen. The reason I couldn't make it happen is I had not created a system to allow it to happen. Because as soon as I enter my work office, I see the 72 emails that need to be handled. I see all the phone calls that I need to return I see the giant to do list of things that have to happen before the weeks in that I have to get to my team. And my brain literally cannot shut those things down and be like okay, Kim that you said you were going to take two hours to write this book. 


So I had to create a system that would allow me to write the book. And for me, that meant I had to physically remove myself from my home. I don't know if you all know this or not. But last year in October, I literally flew to the mountains of Vermont and I stayed in a little cabin for two and a half weeks and I got out of the environment of work, work work. And instead I hiked mountains with my dogs Sophie and I ended up writing 28,102 words in 14 days time. And guess what? I have not written another word of that book since being back. I think I'm just a retreat or a destination only writer but the bottom line is is I'm so absorbed in my work here at home. that in order for me to write, I have to create a system that allows me to be successful. And for me, that system is really shutting down work getting away from my home office, getting to nature where I feel like I can connect, and really allow my creativity to flow. So that's just one example. Another example of not having a good system would be like, Oh, you want to stop eating junk food, okay, but you don't have a system in place. Because you still have chips in the cabinet. Kim, you still have chocolate in the buffet in the dining room, you still have those frozen pizzas in the fridge, that box of Oreo cookies that's on the easy to reach second shelf. 


So it's not that Kim doesn't have a willpower. It's that Kim's brain when she has all of those things around her is like, Hey, I'm hijacking you, because this is way too easy. And so I have not set up a system in my home to be successful with healthy eating. Now, I've made some gains on that. We'll talk about that in a different episode. But I'm just giving you a couple examples of understanding that it's really not your willpower, it's you not having a system to follow. And I love that James clear. He gets he talks about how we overestimate the importance of one defining moment. So we overestimate all of the little bitty things that we are doing to move our life in the right direction of where we want to go. And he says that we underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. And so sometimes I'm you know, I'm a big goal person, right? Like, I'm all about having really big goals. I have big goals for myself, I have big goals for my business this year. 


I have big goals for my body this year, I big goals for my marriage this year. And I'm working on the intent internal blueprint that says I am supporting my belief in my ability to achieve these goals. I am constantly doing the backend work to make sure that this outside goal that I want to reach and there's nothing wrong with having goals, but that I actually have the internal framework that supports my ability to be successful at that goal. 


But what I know myself and from from reading James Claire's book is that sometimes we expect so much out of ourselves, and we expect it so fast. And then we lose steam, we give up on ourselves way too fast, because we're like, well shoot, I'm not seeing the changes that I want to see, right, I'm not losing enough weight yet. Or I'm not even close to earning that kind of money, or there's still so much to do to be able to reach that goal. And so one of the things that he talks about is that when we have these massive goals, we kind of have this belief that massive success takes massive action. And it's like, think about this, have you ever done this, like, Oh, I'm going to lose 2020 pounds, I'm going to completely restrict myself from carbs, or I'm going to go on the no sugar diet, I'm going to cut out all sugar. And you know, you do this, like extremely drastic thing. Or let's say, You're like, Hey, I'm going to build this business. I'm going to work 90 hours a week, and I'm going to put my head to the grindstone, I'm gonna do everything it says to do. 


Those things don't work. We have to think about the improvements in our life, the way you think about combined interest. I don't know if you know about combined interest or not. But basically, I'm going to attempt to teach it to you because we need to understand combined interest to understand why we have to create or learn a system in order to get to where we're going what it is we really want to improve upon in our life. And so we need to be laser focused, we need to be making teeny, tiny, little small, actionable changes every day in our life. And it's those little bitty changes that we don't always see the result of the fruit yet. It is that that turns into kind of like combined interest. So let me give you the combined interest scenario that I learned from Dave Ramsey years ago when we started teaching at our son Spencer when he was 13 years old. And so I'm not going to get these numbers exactly right. But this is basically how combined Interest works. Let's say that you have Robert and Kathy. And every year Robert invest $2,000 in his retirement fund. All right. And let's say that Robert starts investing $2,000, every single year, from the ages of 18 to 26. So, for eight years, Robert will have put in 2000 a year in a retirement fund. And then at age 26, he stops putting money in that fund, and he never puts another dime in that account. So he has invested $16,000 from the time he was 18, until he was 26. 


But then, you have Katherine. And let's say that Katherine doesn't put any money into her account until age 26. And so, if you remember, Robert quit putting money in at age 26. But he started earlier than Katherine, but from Katherine starts putting money in from age 26, 

all the way to age 62. So she puts in 2000 every year. And let's see, that would be, you know, 36 years, 36 years of 2000. So, let's basically say that, you know, Katherine has 72,000 that she's put in. All right, so you have Robert who put 16,000 in stay with me here, Robert put 16,000 in between the ages of 16 and 26. And then Katherine put in 36,000, between the ages of 26 and 62 years, what Dave Ramsey explains about combined interest, that it is actually Robert, who put in the lesser amount of money, who by the time he reaches 62, will have something like 1.5 million more dollars in his retirement account than Katherine. Why? Because Catherine missed out on those first eight years. 


And that combined interest that slowly just kept rolling over every single year. And every single year, it created a ripple effect. And it was like a snowball effect. And every year, that ripple effect got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And simply because she started eight years earlier, she, her retirement account was 1.5 million more, even though our sorry, his was 1.5 million more than Catherine's because Catherine didn't start until eight years later, even though she put even more money in.


 This is what I'm talking about you guys, this is how your life works. We give up too easily on our goals, because we don't have a system that we can follow. It's these tiny little improvements that end up creating this massive snowball ripple effect. And, you know, he goes on to even say, What if you just got 1% better 1% better each day for an entire year that you according to his research would end up 37 times better, then, as time went by, you would be 37 times better than you are right now. But if you get 1% worse, every day for a year, you will decline down to nearly zero. 


So what starts out as a small win, or maybe it's a small setback, those setbacks or those small wins, accumulate into something more into something more into something more. And so when we're talking about creating a system that helps and supports you, being able to achieve your goals, then this is how we actually help people make the changes in their life. And I'm just going to tell you guys, the system is what I have created with the happy Academy. 


The Happy Academy is a 10 month system where we zero in every single month on one teeny tiny area of your life that needs to be improved. And in August, we zero in on your happiness levels in September. We zero in on your self care practices. In October, we work on your relationships in your marriages. In November, we work on happiness habits. And I have lined out 10 months where we laser focus on these can't these 10 tiny little things that we're going to use in our life, to actually gain momentum to actually start to make the moves in our life that we've been yearning for. And the reason that you're going to be successful at it. 


The reason you will be successful in this program, and the reason that every single person who went to the happy Academy last year made major major moves in their life. Here's why this works. Because when you consciously decide to set a goal, I will tell you that 25% of you will achieve that goal. When you actually decide you will do it. 40% of you will achieve your goal. When you plan exactly how you will reach your goals 50% of you will achieve your goal. And when you commit to someone else that you will do it when you have an accountability you are when you're not sorry, when you tell somebody else you're doing this 65% of you will achieve your goal. Like get this, when you have a specific accountability appointment. When you have a coach in your life, 95% of you will achieve your goals. It's too hard to do this on your own. And that's why we created the happy Academy we already have a giant waitlist of people waiting to get in, you can get on that waitlist, all you have to do is if you're an educator, we have two different waitlist. 


So if you're an educator who wants to go through the happy Academy, I'm going to put this in the show notes. But I'm also going to read it to you right now, you will go to struggle education.com forward slash the dash happy dash Academy. Again, this will be in the show notes. It's struggle education.com forward slash the dash happy dash Academy. And if you are not an educator because this is not just for educators, this is for business schools, organizations, we have entire school districts signing up for this we have entire businesses that are signing their employees up for this. But if you are a non educator, then you're going to want to go to Kim strobel.com forward slash the dash happy dash Academy. Again, I will drop both of those in the show notes. 


But if you're truly someone who feels like you're wanting to make these changes, then the happy Academy is going to help you shift that internal blueprint. I am sharing with you all in the happy Academy, a system that I have used myself to achieve the great things in my life. You know, for years, I felt completely inadequate. I felt flawed. Sometimes I even joke that I kind of belong on that Island of Misfit Toys that's on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, you know, the Island of Misfit Toys, all the toys that don't feel like they belong. They belong. That was me back in the day. And I always got a lot of pushback from people, right. People who didn't like my positive energy, people who didn't like that the way my legs looked because I ran 40 miles a week, people who didn't like the way I spoke up or showed up or had confidence. And many times I felt really lost from who I was. 


I felt overwhelmed with all the stressors that were coming at me. And my life was really hard. It is at that breaking point that I really decided that I'm going to commit to doing the work to really reclaiming who Kim Strobel is what she wants to achieve, how she wants to show up in her life for herself, for her family, for her partner for her community and the Night, the happy Academy is the brain work kind of like the yellow brick road that I used to do that. And if this is something that you feel called to do, you're going to want to check in because I basically walk you through 10 months of 10 tiny little bitty lessons, where you're going to get the combined interest, you're going to get the ripple effect. 


Because basically, what we're going to do is we're going to create the system, so that you can internally shift your, your blueprint of who you are, so that you can get that snowball effect going in your life. because let me tell you, friends, you are deserving of investing in yourself. You are deserving of putting the time in to your self, you do so much for so many other people. And yet, we find it so hard to invest in ourselves. Well, let me just tell you these two things, I'm going to leave you with this. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you have in this life. And your ability to give yourself self love to invest in yourself and in your well being is something that we cannot put a price on. And for that very reason friends, I would love to have you in the happy Academy, reached out shoot me an email, go to the website links. I'll drop them in the show notes. And we can do this together for the next 10 months. Thanks so much for being here today. 

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