In the last post I talked about motivated forgetting and how it can put a damper on your new year’s goals and resolutions. If you missed the post, you can catch it here.
I also mentioned how I’d provide some simple advice to keep your goals from becoming faded memories this coming new year.
There are a few ways to go about doing this, but the easiest I’ve found is to put cues and clues around your environment so you constantly see this priority.
More or less, you want to put your goals in view so you are automatically reminded of them without any conscious effort on your part.
Here are some suggestions on how to do that…
Make your goal into a password for social medial, business, or personal accounts you access regularly. Is your goal to train for the 5k? Your new password is ‘Train4the5K’. Do you want to finish that novel you’re writing? ‘FinishNovelbyMar30’. Maybe you want to lose weight? ‘Lose20in6Months’. Not only are these strong passwords, but each time you go to type them in, you are relentlessly reminded of your priority.
Make a key chain with your top goals on it. Keys are something you always have on you and carry everywhere. So a key chain that lists your goals means they are always at your finger tips. The reminder goes where you go.
Place your resolution on the home-screen or wall paper of your phone. Whether you have the latest iPhone or an antiquated Nokia, most cell-phones allow you to display a message on its home-screen. Your new years resolution is a great message to have up as anytime you turn the screen on, you will see it. This is my personal favorite, as we speak, my top priority is on there.
These are few ways to keep your new years goals and resolutions on top of mind at all times.
I like these suggestions because they are not location or time based. The reminders are with you wherever you are and at all times of the day.
Though, if you don’t like these suggestions, you might put a list of your resolutions in a wallet sleeve or purse pocket you go into often, bathroom or bedroom mirror you stand in front of each morning, a drawer you open regularly, the entrance of your home, or a refrigerator door. You can even set an alarm on your phone to ring daily or weekly to notify you of your priority.
Whichever suggestions you use, try to put as many reminders around your space and place as possible.
The great thing about this strategy is you need set the reminders only once.
After that, they will always be there helping you stay focused.
If you are hesitant to do this exercise, realize these reminders aren’t just for you…
They are for your mind as well.
Everything begins and ends in the mind.
And if your mind is constantly seeing the reminder – without you realizing – it will shift things around in your head and help you better prioritize your time, energy, and even motivation. That is, if your mind is aware that you have to work on your writing for an hour, it won’t tempt you with a time-wasting activity like a movie.
Your mind will also help steer you to make better choices. If a friend calls you up to go for a drink, you might get an apprehensive tinge in your muscles; that’s the mind telling you ‘hey if you go out for drinks, you’ll miss going to the gym.’
These are some indirect, unconscious ways setting reminders like this can help you remember those goals.
You have to put effort on your part.
Don’t just ignore the reminder or let it become this ‘thing’ that bogs you down as a constant memory of what you should be doing, but aren’t.
Too many of us get caught in a cycle of remorse, regret, and self-loathing when we are reminded of our new years goals.
Instead, take a quick moment to think about what you are doing to get closer to the objective. Determine if you are making progress, and if not, what you can do to get on track. Try to see if there are areas you can improve.
You might even think about what you can do in that moment to get yourself closer to the intended desire. Is there an email you can write, an appointment you can make, a person you can call?
So to recap the last few posts, as humans we have these mechanisms running in the background that keep us from moving forward and making change.
One of the ways these mechanisms do that is by making us forget the goals and resolutions we’ve set for ourselves.
If you can keep your new years goals and resolutions on top of mind, you’re more likely to remember to take action on them.
If you can take action on them, guess what…?
You’re more likely to achieve them.