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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

How 2 Minutes and 2 Post-Its Can Help You Reach Your Goals

Staying motivated to reach your goals isn’t always easy. But here’s one idea for a simple, quick, and inexpensive pick-me-up: two Post-It notes.

Science has proven that visualizing your day beforehand and reflecting on your time after the fact can set you up for success. So, Geoffrey James of Inc. actually came up with the idea to combine the activities into a two-minute daily exercise that’ll easily help you get there.

Here’s his method—try it every day for a week, and see how well it works for you.

Post-It #1: Start the Day Right

Your first Post-It note should be placed somewhere so that you see it first thing in the morning or when you get to work, like next to your bed, in your bathroom mirror, or at your desk.

On this note, jot down a future-tense mantra about how you want to perform that day. James recommends writing a list of 10 resolutions, but if that seems a little tough at first, I like the idea of focusing on just a couple of goals—or even one—each day. Try something like:

  • Today I will strive to be kind to everyone.
  • Today I will contribute meaningfully to discussions.
  • Today I will give help to someone who needs it.
  • Today I will make sure at least one person knows how much I appreciate him or her.

Think of this note as a quick dose of inspiration, setting your mission and getting you ready for the long day ahead.

Post-It #2: End the Day Right

On your second sticky note, give yourself some meaningful questions that will allow you to reflect on how your day went, and be sure to post it somewhere you’ll see it right before bed (like your sink or bed post). Did you accomplish the goals you set out to do?

Some great examples could include:

  • Was I kind to everyone?
  • Did I contribute meaningfully to discussions and conversations?
  • Did I help someone out who was really in need of it?
  • Did I tell at least one person who much I appreciated him or her? What did I say to that person?

Upon reflection, you’ll be able to sleep well knowing that you did what you set out to do—or that you know exactly how to improve in the days and weeks ahead.

Feel like you’ve gotten the hang of the resolutions you set out to do? Feel free to add more over the coming weeks, months, and years. Like to continuously master fewer resolutions in the hopes you’ll nail them all every single day? Stick with the aspirations you already have. The great thing about this exercise is that it’s all up to you.

These Post-Its may seem incredibly simple, but you’d be surprised how a small reminder in the morning and at night can change your entire attitude as you go through the days ahead.

Plus, let’s be real here: Finding cool-looking Post-Its is always really fun.

Photo of sticky notes courtesy of Shutterstock.