Setting goals and having the ideas to achieve more success in life is easy. Whether it is to lose weight, to earn more, to build a successful blog, or to get rid of a bad habit, most people fail to stick to their plans after a few weeks. And some give up after a few short days.
People just don’t follow through. They fall back into their old behaviors and they procrastinate when they are supposed to get things done. So what can you do to stick to your goals and follow your plans? What can you do to really get the things that you want to be done, done?
Here are 3 powerful techniques you can apply:
1. Schedule and Block Your Time
First, schedule and block your time for the project or task that you want to get done. For example, if you want to write a 2,000-word article, what you need to do then is to schedule the writing. You want to make sure that it becomes your priority so that it will definitely happen.
Time blocking is one of the most powerful techniques anyone can leverage to get things done. If you have just bought a book but you find that you don’t have time to read it, just schedule the time.
For instance, use this Saturday morning to read the book. You can block 9 AM to 12 PM on your calendar, and use these 3 hours block to read the book. When you do so, you are giving clear instructions to your mind when and what you should do. As what Tony Robbins said, “Clarity is power”. When you know exactly what you need to do and specifically when to do the task, your chances of doing it will be much higher.
More importantly, when you block your time, you are literally telling the world that you will be unavailable for other things during that period. You have scheduled your priority and other things have to wait. This is why time blocking is such a powerful technique that you can apply to make sure you get more things done.
“The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey
2. Change Your Environment
Next, change your environment. If time blocking is not enough, change your environment as well. We often underestimate how the environment can affect our lives. In fact, the environment you’re in plays a vital role in shaping your life. A productive and positive environment favors good habits and positive behaviors.
If your environment is noisy and you can’t focus, and you want to write an article in that surrounding, you set yourself up to fail. You must learn to use your environment to support you rather than against you. Create a favorable environment so that you are more inclined to take action rather than procrastinating.
Take the example from above, if you want to read a book, but your environment is noisy and distracting, just change your location. Grab your book and read it in a nearby coffee house while enjoying your favorite hot mocha. The key is that you must design or change your environment so that it favors you.
If you want to make it a habit to drink more water, fill your water bottle and place it on your work desk. Whenever you see it, you will remember to drink more water. If you want to watch less TV, keep the remote control away or take out the batteries. This way, you create the inconvenience and it makes you less likely to watch TV.
Thus, redesign a work environment that helps you get things done. Remember, you are a product of your environment. So if you want to change your life, change your environment.
3. Build Up the Commitment
So now that you have blocked out 3 hours this Saturday from 9 AM to 12 PM to read a book that you have just bought at a nearby café. What if you still fail to follow through? Well, here’s the third technique you can apply – increase your commitment.
What you want to do here is to increase the stake and make yourself more committed to taking action. For instance, you can make a bet with a friend that you will read 100 pages of the book. And if you don’t, you will give him or her $50.
How’s that for increasing your commitment? Of course, there are many ways how you can put yourself on the line. You can also invite a friend to read together in the café so that he can become your accountability partner and make sure you show up and read.
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes…but no plans.” – Peter F. Drucker
When you make a public commitment, you put yourself on the line and your reputation is at stake. Hence, you become more committed to the action. According to Dr. Gail Matthews from the Dominican University of California, people who write down their goals, make action commitments, and share their progress with someone else have a much higher chance of actually achieving their goals.
Hence, to increase your commitment toward your goals, you can:
- Write them down
- Create specific action plans, and
- Make yourself accountable by sharing your progress with someone else.
These are the 3 techniques that you can implement to help you get things done. Remember, schedule your actions so that they will definitely happen. Change your environment so that you set yourself up to win. And create the commitment so that you will hold yourself accountable and accomplish the task.