Proven techniques that deliver results
We all start our day with 24 hours. Within seconds of waking, those hours get spent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in an employed household with children, 16 hours go towards working and sleeping; 3 hours are spent cooking, eating, and dealing with household activities like paying the bills; 1.7 hours are spent caring for others, and 2 hours are sucked away watching TV. Then we socialize, exercise, and likely fall over, with little time left to regroup for the next day.
Stop for a moment. Pick up a pen. Let’s take a walk off of your calendar. When all your time has come and gone, what do you want to have accomplished?
- Write down whatever comes to mind on a sheet of paper. This will flush out your dreams for the future.
- Circle one item you are committed to achieving in the next 90 days.
- Beside that item, quantify the number of hours you currently spend working towards it every week.
Are you currently spending enough time to make it a reality? Dreams by definition are merely a series of thoughts, feelings and sensations that live in the mind. They lie dormant, waiting for the space to emerge and grow. But the clock doesn’t stop, and our busy lives keep going. If you really want that dream to happen, there’s only one-way to do it: through action. Here are 4 sure-fire ways to achieve your goal in the next 90 days:
Dream: Strong Marriage
Time spent on working on it each week: Less than an hour
Dream: Write a Novel
Time spent on working on it each week: 0 hours
Dream: Running my own business
Time spent on working on it each week: 1 hour
1. Put Actions in Your Calendar. Start With Today.
List out 3 actions you can take towards your dream this week. Now put them in your calendar, starting with today. In a study published by the Journal of Consumer Research, it was found that those who believed they had already made progress towards their goal were twice as likely to achieve it than those who thought they were starting from scratch. Completing your first action today will provide a psychological illusion of progress, jump-starting your motivational engine into gear.
2. Know What Time of Day You Are Most Productive.
We all have a higher level of mental and physical energy at a particular time of day. This is known as a circadian preference. It’s important to identify whether you function at a peak level in the morning, mid-day, or evening. You can then schedule activities when they are most likely to be successfully completed. As a morning person, if your goal is a better sex life, waiting until 8 pm when the kids are down could lead you to sleep rather than stimulation. Conversely, if you are a night owl and are waking up before work to exercise, you may find yourself having difficulty sticking to the plan. (Online self-assessment’s are available.)
3. Stop Waiting for the Perfect Time.
Waiting for that perfect moment or perpetually feeling that you need more of X to get Y can be paralyzing. It’s important to recognize that while there are rewards for being in action, there are also rewards for standing still. You avoid criticism, failure, and potentially not performing to yours or other people’s standards. It seems as though life may be easier when you are watching from the stands. The challenge is that this game is your life. If you aren’t playing, then who is?
In the words of Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Take a shot. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times before making the hall of fame. Steve Jobs got fired from Apple before changing the world with his vision. Stop waiting for the perfect time to act and put actions in your calendar today.
4. Set a Timer on Technology
To see how technology has infiltrated our lives, just look at a group of people together out for dinner. Smartphones are scattered across the table, with screen’s lighting up as people check in on the world outside. Smartphones have shattered contextual boundaries, with emails and phone calls continuously flowing. When you put aside precious time to work on your dreams, be sure to turn off the technology around you. It can cause distractions by averting attention to another task, or affecting your mood by breaking your focus. If you are serious about achieving your goal in the next 90 days, control your technology so that it doesn’t control you.
You can’t add hours to the clock or another day to your weekly calendar. To make your dreams a reality, focus on what you can control today. I invite you to set your target and achieve it in the next 90 days. Thinking about it won’t get you there. Finding the courage to put actions into your calendar today will.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009. Data include persons on days they worked, ages 25-54, who lived in households with children under 18.
 “dreams”. “hacker.” Merriam-Webster.com. 2011. http://www.merriam-webster.com (8 May 2011).
 Kivetz, Ran. Urminsky, Oleg. Zheng, Yuhuang. The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected: Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention. Journal of Marketing Research, (Feb 2006), 39-58.
 Center for Environmental Therapeutics. http://www.cet-surveys.org/Dialogix/servlet/Dialogix?schedule=3&DIRECTI…
 Donovan, Jim. “This is your life, not a dress rehearsal.” Bovan Publishing Group, November, 1998.