To achieve your goals, you must constantly remind yourself of them – at least on a daily basis. Many people write their goals in a journal or day planner, intending to review them each day. Unfortunately, it is easy to neglect a journal or day planner and let days slide by without reviewing ones goals. If only there were a better, simpler way to review your goals each day. Fortunately, there is.
You can use mental associations to automatically review your goals on a daily basis. Here’s how:
1. Identify the goal you want to remember. For purposes of this article, let’s assume that your goal is to write the great American novel. Obviously you will want to remind yourself of this goal each day so you stay on task.
2. Identify something you do every day (i.e., a daily task). If you commute to work each day by car, then getting into your car is a perfect daily task to use for this exercise. Other possibilities include: brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and eating breakfast.
3. Create a visual symbol of your goal. The key here is to visualize your goal in an exaggerated, memorable fashion. To visualize writing the great American novel, you might picture an over-sized book (i.e., larger than a car), lying open and face-down. Also be sure that your image reinforces the positive aspects of your goal. If your goal is to lose weight, for example, visualize the slimmer, trimmer you – not the food you want to eat but can’t.
4. Combine the visual symbol of your goal with your daily task. In our example, vividly imagine your car as it looks in the morning when you are about to get into it and drive to work. But this time there is something different – there is an over-sized book lying open and face-down on top of the car. You have to push pages aside just to get to the handle of the car.
5. Contemplate your new imagine. Think about your absurd image (the book on the car) for a good long time. Visualize it in detail, and associate some positive emotion with it. For example, you might imagine that you are laughing your head off because you are so amused that there is a giant book on your car. Or maybe you are overwhelmed with happiness because you always wanted to have reading material on top of your automobile.
After following these steps, your image is set. Now, tomorrow morning, when you go to get into your car, this associated image will pop into your head. When it does, you will be reminded of your goal (i.e., to write the great American novel). In fact, this image will recur every day when you go to get into your car in the morning. You therefore have a daily reminder of your most important goal, with no need to record the goal in a journal, day planner, or other device.
Obviously, the great American novel example is just an example. Repeat the above steps using your real life goal and soon you will be receiving your own useful daily reminders. If you are really concerned about your goal, try setting several daily reminders (e.g., getting into the car, eating lunch, going to bed) to make sure it is on your mind.