Friday, August 26, 2011
Designing your environment for improvement
Depending on will power is the most common mistake in trying to create individual change. Don't do it. Instead, design your environment to shape your behavior for you.
- Calendar: If you're a person who manages her life through a calendar, schedule dates and times to do the things you want to do. For example, schedule a specific time to send out invoices or to do your planning.
- Become a calendar person: People who don't routinely use calendars often don't because they don't have the calendar habit. They don't think to look at their calendars. Beat this in two ways. First, make your calendar front and center. Have it pop up on your computer desktop first thing every morning or maintain a paper calendar where you can't miss it: posted on your bathroom mirror or on your refrigerator. Second, put fun stuff on it too. Don't just fill it with onerous tasks which make you dread looking at it, but add events that you look forward to.
- Pop up a goals file: Want to have a constant reminder of your goals? Have a goals file automatically pop up on your computer every morning. Include an activity such as writing a few lines of ideas for how to achieve the goals. The activity gets you engaged with the goals.
- Automatically send yourself emails: Schedule email reminders for calendar events such as birthdays and due dates. But you can also schedule email reminders to remind you of goals and resolutions.
- Set short term goals: New Year resolutions have typically fizzled away by the second or third week in January. Bad news for the rest of the year. So, don't set goals once per year, set them once a month. That way, if the pursuit of each lasts two or three weeks, you've been working on your goals for a much greater percentage of the year.
- Track your success: Use graphs, checklists or check off days on a calendar to indicate progress toward your goal. Keep it visible. Use it to keep an unbroken streak of successes going.
Posted at 8:15 AM