The key to achieving any kind of goal is maintaining a focused effort. This might seem like a no-brainer, but if you’ve ever tried to achieve anything, you know that it’s much harder than it seems on paper. It is difficult to sustain that kind of focus in our daily lives. The pace of our lives makes it difficult to remember what we need to do the exact moment it needs to be done in order to achieve our goals, because goals do not have the same concreteness that daily living does.
How do you achieve any goal? Break it down into much smaller goals. How do you meet those smaller goals? Create “reminders through association” to cue the action needed to advance through the steps of a goal. Essentially, these are intentional reminders, kind of like leaving yourself a note. But, don’t just leave yourself a reminder. Put it somewhere you will be able to act upon the reminder.
By associating an object with an action, every time you see that object you will be prompted to perform the action. For example, placing a chin-up bar in a doorway to remind you to work on your upper body strength. Every time you go through that doorway, you will see the bar and be reminded to do a few pull-ups, thus breaking down the goal of increasing upper body strength into manageable sub-goals of, say, 20 pull-ups a day.
Think about it. What goals do you have that require some seriously focused effort? Are you trying to walk more, drink more water, or even increase your sales network? What steps do you need to take to achieve those goals that can be tied to an intentional physical reminder? Is it as simple as placing your water bottle next to your mouse to remind you to take a drink, or putting a paper note on the door to remind you to take the stairs? It could be. What about increasing your sales network? That requires phone calls, for which the reminder can be as simple as placing the list next to the phone. Every time you see it there, you will be reminded to make the required number of phone calls each day to meet your goal.
Any object that you can mentally associate with an action will increase your chances of achieving a goal. It’s a great way to form new habits and the best way to break down even the loftiest goals into manageable chunks. It’s nearly foolproof and scientifically proven to increase our ability to follow through on good intentions. So, find a reminder for your goals today!