If you’re anything like us, you sometimes get a little, well, stuck trying to motivate yourself to stick to a goal (e.g., regular exercise and keeping up with New Yorker subscriptions). Good news. Studies suggest that the secret to achieving any goal is not necessarily steadfast hard work, but rather simply recalling times you succeeded in a similar endeavor.
Sound easy enough? Keep reading. When engaging in this little waltz down memory lane, you’ll want to recall just a couple of instances of success—more is not the merrier in this case, as remembering many successful moments may make you complacent and lead you to perhaps grant yourself a pass. Similarly, dwelling on failures can prove paralyzing.
The simple explanation for this quick path to success is that mood and confidence directly impact our ability to complete a task. If we’re feeling defeated from the outset, we’re more likely either to never devote ourselves to the goal or to give up quickly. If we’re feeling haughty, we may become frustrated if the effort proves more cumbersome than expected.
So, the next time you’ve got a task to attend to—big or small, short-term or long-term!—pause to remember two times you knocked it out of the park. You just may be surprised.
What do you think of this simple tactic for achieving goals? Tell us in the comments.