The Post-It Note Of Power
Little tweaks in your environment help you get and stay on track.
This works for lunch–and for practicing guitar!
I think it would be a good idea if I took a lunch to work more often.
- Using up leftovers instead of getting lunch out is a WIN for the environment and proper respect for my wife’s awesome cooking!
- Eating home-cooked food means avoiding unhealthy fast: a WIN for my energy and health.
- Packing lunch means saving money: a WIN for my wallet.
The problem is, even if I pack my lunch and put it in the fridge the night before in the morning rush, all too often I run out the door without it.
Does this mean I’m a sucky person with low willpower?
Not according to psychologist Benjamin Hardy, the author of Why Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discovering The Hidden Keys To Success. He says that willpower wears out if the environment doesn’t support it. The key to lasting change, he argues, is to create an environment that supports your goals.
An environment that supports your guitar goals for example, might include:
- Leaving your guitar out on a stand where you can see it, instead of in a case under your bed or in the closet.
- Having a regular appointment with a friend to jam (email firstname.lastname@example.org for more on our premium weekly jams!) or a class to support consistent practicing.
- Having a tuner so your guitar is in tune and sounds nice!
But I wondered how subtle these changes could be to support my goals, so this week I made a couple of very small changes around my home.
Instead of being frustrated with my youngest daughter, who is responsible for feeding the cat every morning, I asked her to move her nighttime phone location from the kitchen counter to directly above the cat food. Result: feeding the cat in the morning without being reminded. Victory!
And instead of being annoyed with myself for forgetting my lunch, I decided to be impressed with myself as someone who has spent years literally practicing running out the door in the morning without a packed lunch, and therefore got really good at it. YES! I’m SO GOOD at what I do!
And I put a post it note on the inside of my front door at my eye level: “Dan, bring your lunch.”
7:11 am, blowing out the door on my way to the train, and suddenly I came face-to-face with that note.
I went to the fridge and grabbed my lunch!
Now, instead of feeling bad because I have low willpower and forget things, I feel clever and capable–and I’ll get to have a delicious lunch.
All because of one little tiny post-it note reminder.
Could you use a post it note to change your environment in some small yet awesomely empowering way?
On to Greatness,
Founder, NYC Guitar School
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