Whenever you feel unmotivated, lazy or daunted by a certain goal, just ask yourself this question: Is this goal worth spending 30 minutes every day?
This is a strategy known as reframing. By linking the output of your goal with the estimated commitment needed, it gives you immediate clarity on the value you attach to your goal. 30 minutes a day is an easy starting point for many people, even for busy professionals. Just shave that time away from the unproductive activities in your life — the few that come to mind would be excessive surfing, chatting, watching TV, overuse of Facebook, etc. Simply cutting out 10 minutes from any 3 random activities will give you 30 minutes.
If you can’t even set aside 30 minutes a day for this goal, then it probably isn’t a goal you really want to begin with. Remove it and stop wasting mental energy thinking about it. However, this is likely not the case though. If a certain goal is constantly lingering on your mind, it probably matters to you.
The problem most people face with their goals is they overcomplicate the process. They imagine the task to be bigger than it really is, blow it out of proportion, and put it off indefinitely instead. They spend so much time thinking and pondering about the task when they could achieved it long ago if they had just gotten down to doing it. This is a common trait found in perfectionists. In reality, many things that we think about can be tackled quite quickly. The biggest obstacle we face in goal achievement is usually our minds, than anything else.
While 30 minutes may seem like a short period of time, committing this block of time every day to a particular goal will bring you a long way. Block off a 30-minute time slot every day in your calendar for this goal. Chances are, once you get started with your 30-min session, you will much rather continue with the goal than move on to another activity. Suddenly, this goal becomes very achievable and isn’t so daunting anymore. :D
This method works very well for Quadrant 2 tasks. Quadrant 2 tasks are usually the goals we end up neglecting since they never become urgent until it is too late. Examples would be maintaining our health, cultivating our relationships, and any highly important goal. Making that small investment in these goals will bring you a long way — you will be surprised at the results you get in just a short period! :D
If you are trying to lose weight, imagine spending 30 minutes a day exercising for a month. You are bound to see rapid results in your physique and weight loss. If you have been meaning to meditate, imagine spending that time meditating every day for a week. Your thinking will become so much clearer within just a few days. If you are looking to improve your relationship with your parents, spend 30 minutes a day just chatting with them and finding out how they are doing. If you want to improve yourself, spend the 30 minutes immersing in self-help blogs, books and materials every day, or even working with a coach.
Imagine your goal as a huge tree you are trying to axe. Chopping at it for 30 minutes a day probably wouldn’t give you anything much. But 30 minutes every day, for a week? A month? 3 months? Before you even realize it, you will start seeing positive, concrete results.
I first came across this idea years ago when I was checking out fitness books in the library. At that time, one of my top goals was to lose weight. There was this particular book that I picked up — on the back cover, there was a line that read: “Is losing weight worth 30 minutes of your time every day?”
I immediately thought, Duh, of course! That was when it struck me — if I could achieve my weight loss goal (or any goal for that matter) by just putting in 30 minutes a day, why not act on it instead of having this nagging thought on my mind all the time? As it turned out, I didn’t even have to exercise 30 minutes a day — just 2-3 times a week was sufficient to achieve my goal!
If you feel that your particular goal requires more than a 30 minutes per day, say an hour, feel free to increase it accordingly. However, ensure you make a minimum commitment of 30 minutes. Any additional time you put in is a bonus, but isn’t mandatory.
Making this mental commitment to spend 30 minutes helps prevent inertia in getting started on the task. Committing to 30 minutes also helps you establish a momentum before you decide whether to invest more into this goal. From there, feel free to invest more time as you deem fit.
In no time, you will be surprised at how much progress you are making. :)