- Schedule it. If something is in your calendar, you already have that time blocked off and are much more likely to follow through. Is your goal to improve your grades this semester? One daily action could be to complete homework assignments every day (instead of waiting until the last minute). Then schedule this in your calendar. Write in when and where you will work on homework every day. Don’t keep a calendar? Now is the perfect time to start as it’s a lifelong skill you’ll need, especially in the real world of work.
- Set reminders. By seeing “Work on writing my thesis in the library from 10am-12pm” pop up on your phone, you’ll think twice before going out for coffee instead. Set reminders on your phone, write sticky notes, set alarms… whatever it takes for you to remember to look at what is scheduled in your calendar.
- Remember the why. Along with setting reminders on what you need to do, also remind yourself of the why. Make your goal the background to your computer or put an inspirational quote on your mirror. By remembering the purpose behind your daily action, you will be more likely to follow through.
- Keep track of your progress. Since we can often trick ourselves into thinking we’re making progress when we really aren’t, it’s important to track yourself. For instance, you can use what’s dubbed as the Seinfeld technique. Print out a blank calendar and put an X across every day that you complete your daily action. Jerry Seinfeld soon became motivated to “not break the chain.” Michael Hyatt also offers a list of his top 7 apps for building new habits.
- Be held accountable. We can often be lax on ourselves and give ourselves permission to take a break from our goals. However, if you have someone asking you every week how you’re progressing on your goals, it’s often added incentive to follow through on your commitments.
In last week’s post, I asked, What is your theme for 2014? I then discussed how to turn that theme into actionable habits. By focusing on one daily action for 10 weeks, you can turn that action into a habit. Once something is a habit, a lot less willpower and determination are required for you to see results. But how do you actually make yourself complete that one action toward your goal every day?