When I am speaking to groups and organizations I’ll often joke with the audience by telling them I’m the person they bring out when they need something taught in such a simple way that absolutely everyone gets it. Perhaps it is my southern accent (I’m from Alabama) which often gets the audience chuckling a bit.
I’m only half joking though of course.
I love simple. Simple works. When things are explained in a simple enough manner things translate into results.
It’s in that fashion that I’m going to share what I believe is both simple in nature, but provided you will put it to work in your daily life quite powerful.
Drum roll please…
I’m talking about developing the habit of creating simple controls to help ensure you accomplish way more in your day to day life. Make no mistake, the smaller, seemingly mundane day to day tasks all go into determining whether or not you will see through to achievement your larger goals and desired outcomes.
Consider that to accomplish anything worthwhile you will very likely be required to work your way through a given number of smaller things, or as I call them, support tasks. These are those things that while they may be far from glamorous, they are never the less required in order to move you closer to your more coveted goal. For example, to become a great writer, one has to first begin to write. In many cases, they don’t start out writing well, often it’s the act of doing, which in time leads to improvement. The getting started and putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard keys) which would be akin to the support tasks I mentioned above.
To further illustrate my point let’s take the following hypothetical situation and then make up and apply some “simple systems” so we can see first hand how using them can be of benefit to us.
1) Let’s say I want to develop a positive habit. Nothing monumental in nature necessarily, but rather that I want to begin going for a walk once a day. Notice I didn’t say climb Mount Everest or train for a marathon. Here we’re talking about something I’ve got the ability to do, but that will actually take my making a conscious ongoing decision to see it through to the point that it becomes a habit.
For the scenario I laid out above, I would use the following “simple system”…
– Write the words “walk now”, or “go for your daily walk”, something to that effect in black sharpie marker (it’s bolder then regular pen) on several 3×5 index cards.
– I would tape one card on my bedroom door. Why? Because by doing so I would be sure to have it staring me right in the face whenever I went in or out of the room.
– I would place another card on the dashboard (or perhaps attach it right by the radio) of my vehicle.
– I would place a card on my refrigerator, and on the desk where my computer is located. Places where I’m certain I would see the message which was on each card.
– I would very likely set up a recurring reminder on my handy handy smart phone (heck, even the not so “handy dandy” ones can do reminders & alarms).
In short, in a very low-tech way I would literally bug the tar out of myself (yes, that’s a real saying, I didn’t make it up ;-)) to the point where it is just easier to do the thing which needs getting done.
Yes, I’ll fully concede that the ideas I just shared with you are simple in nature. As you can see the power is in the reminding. Friend, we don’t need to know what to do in most cases (we’ve already got that part figured out). Rather, we need only have what we know needs to get done strategically placed in such a way that it reminds us to the point that we opt to do the activity rather then continue to experience the ongoing sense of “gentle guilt” which pops-up every time we see one of our little reminders.
The interesting thing about this approach is that when you’ve actually gone for the walk, and you see one of those reminders you’ve set for yourself you get the added positive feeling which comes from having done what you know you committed to doing. That is, you get to re-experience the positive feelings associated with having experienced the winning feeling of completing your goal, knowing it’s moving you that much closer to what you want.
So to sum things up, and place a nice big blue bow around what we’re talking about here — the simple systems approach I have shared with you works because there is great truth in the old saying, “out of sight out of mind is a killer”. Meaning, the things we keep front and center tend to get done more often than those things which we lose track of. If this sounds overly simple, good. It’s supposed to. Remember… I get paid good money to the be the guy companies bring out when everyone absolutely must have things explained in such simple terms that everyone gets it 🙂
Get creative with the ideas above. Look for ways you can implement your own simple systems to get from want to, to finished! I’d love to hear what you come up with and hope you will share them with me.
It’s your life, LIVE BIG!
Btw. If you enjoyed the article above you’ll love Josh’s motivational audio program, Why Perfect Timing is a Myth — order your copy here!