Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik discovered that activities that are started but not completed are lodged in our minds and will only disappear from our active memory after they are done. Incomplete activities — or unmet goals — create dissonance. It’s called the Zeignarnik Effect.
The need to finish something that we started is human nature. Yet so many of us toss aside our goals after only a few weeks. Or we procrastinate to the point of defeat.
It seems simplistic to say that overcoming procrastination is as easy as just getting started. But wrapped in the simplicity is truth. Reacquainting yourself with a tossed-aside goal and taking a small step toward achieving it could mean the difference between success and failure.
Now is the time to look forward with optimism. Here are two simple strategies to help you move further towards achieving your goals, so the undones don’t undo you.
Don’t complicate your goal setting by choosing too many goals. Instead, focus on a few meaningful goals that you are truly committed to working towards. It’s better to achieve a few strong goals than to make lesser progress on many goals and end up getting none of them finished.
Set out a detailed plan for how you will achieve each of your goals. Define the steps and the sequence of activities that are required. If you visualize the steps required to achieve a goal rather than the actual outcome, you will be three times more likely to not get stuck and fall short of your goal.
Write a letter to yourself that you will open one year from now. In this letter congratulate yourself for your accomplishments, for your successes both personally and professionally.
Originally written by PJ Welland, a business coach with BNI We Mean Business in Chicago and posted to Successnet