This is actually the application of a strategy known as reframing. By linking the output of your goal with the estimated commitment needed, it gives you immediate clarity on the amount of 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 comes to mind would be excessive surfing, chatting, watching TV, time spent commuting, 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, it probably isn’t a goal you really desire 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 a lingering concern in your mind, it is probably something that matters to you.
The problem most people face in achieving goals is they overcomplicate the process. They imagine the task to be bigger than it really is, blow it out of proportion and end up putting it off infinitely instead. They spend so much time thinking and pondering about the task when they could have been done with it long ago if they had just gotten down to doing it. This is a common trait that is found in perfectionists. In reality, many things that we think about can actually be tackled or done 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 that time upfront every day to a particular goal will bring you a long way. Block off a 30 minutes slot in your daily calendar for your goal. Chances are, once you get started on your 30 min session, you will find that you much rather continue with the goal you are working on than to move to another activity. Suddenly, you will find the goal is very achievable and does not seem daunting anymore.
This method works particularly well for Quadrant 2 tasks. Quadrant 2 tasks are typically the ones we end up neglecting since they never become urgent until it is too late. Examples would be maintaining our health, cultivating our relationships, etc. Making that small investment in working on these goals will bring you a long way in the long run – You will be surprised at the results you will be getting in just a short period.
If you are trying to lose weight, imagine spending 30 minutes every day exercising for 1 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 just a week. Your mental 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 how they are doing. If you want to improve yourself, spend the 30 minutes immersing in self-help blogs, books and materials every day.
Just 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 a year ago when I was checking out books on fitness in the library. At that time, one of my top goals was to lose weight. There was this particular book 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 found myself unconsciously thinking ‘duh, of course!‘ in reply to the question. That is when it struck me – If I could achieve my weight loss goal (or any other goal for that matter) by just putting in 30 minutes per day, why not just get acting on it instead of having it as a nagging sensation in my mind all the time? As it turned out, I didn’t even have to exercise 30 minutes per day – just 2-3 times every week was sufficient to achieve my goal!
If you feel your particular goal requires more than a 30 minutes per day – say, 1 hour, feel free to increase it accordingly. However, ensure you make a minimum commitment of 30 minutes– the additional time you want to put in will be a bonus, but not mandatory. Making this mental note helps to prevent mental inertia in getting started on the task. It will also help if you have already established a momentum with 30 minutes, before bringing in higher stakes. From there, feel free to raise the stakes as you deem fit.
In no time, you will yourself making so much progress on the goal that you will be surprised