Your environment is almost certainly affecting your mood and productivity. You can make big improvements and achieve new successes by making simple changes to your work and living spaces. The idea is to choose specific objects, words, imagery, smells and music that you have a positive association to and place them in the areas you live. The intention is to create subliminal triggers that subconsciously influence you to act and improve on goals. These could include working on business ventures, doing chores, thinking more positively, getting more exercice, generating a million dollars or eliminating bad behaviours. It’s a good way to start something new or improve on what your currently doing.
The process starts by choosing some goals and laying out reminders for yourself. For each of your goals come up with related written words and phrases, images or objects and place them in your work and home spaces to guide action. Make them part of your daily experience. The reminders you choose should be associated with a feeling you want to foster but can include itemized todo lists. This means using words and pictures that you would experience with the successful completion of your goals.
The magic of this exercise is that the mind absorbs your experiences and influences your thoughts and actions without you even being aware of it. The semantic meaning of written words and images doesn’t even have to be fully comprehended each time you look at them. You just have to be exposed to the reminders and your reaction will be subconscious.
This process will also help you remove blocks to a more productive day. If you find yourself deliberating on decisions then adding more positive influences will encourage action.
Preparation is critical to success. Because we are purposefully trying to encourage automatic behaviours we need to make sure those behaviours are chosen thoughtfully ahead of time. The reminders placed in your environment will also form habits and allow your subconscious to anticipate and plan moment to moment what to do next. This creates a calming effect on your overall state.
We have an emotional budget of decision making power available to us each day. If we exceed our limit we hit burnout and start making bad decisions. When you’re running low on energy you slow down and loose focus. Optimize your day by dedicating time once a week to choose tasks for goals. I.e. if you want to start going to the gym every day but find it difficult remove some unnecessary steps. Keeping all of the things you need in a bag by your front door so all you have to do is grab it and your ready. Then when you decide to go everything you need is in that bad and there is no time for deliberation and hesitation.
You can support new actions with rewards while transitioning to new behaviours. This can include tasty prepared food items, music you enjoy and planned activities that have pleasant experiences like walking through a park.
Here are some specific ideas for implementing reminders:
- Use post -it notes, a chalk or white board or custom paper/card stock to hang reminder words on the walls. You could also create artwork with pictures and large print words to serve both artistic and influential roles.
- Set up your computer to cycle through motivational desktop pictures.
- If you share a space with others and don’t want to disrupt the feel you can change the medium and format to fit. This might mean todo lists on notepads in an office and framed word art work at home.
- Create a board and place on it all of the associated images and text goals that you are working towards.
- The size of text you prepare can also be used to influence the priority you have attached to it. Place multiple reminders to reinforce the message.
- When using descriptive words or todo lists include words you associate with positive feelings. This way you will think of the feelings along with action goal based words. Your subconscious is not logical like your conscious mint and thinks more in terms of feelings.
- Smell and scents can act as powerful reminder.
Use location to your advantage so that the objects you choose support the type of behaviour you want for each areas.
- Work – At work you may want to create a mood of alertness, concentration and low distraction. Some starting ideas: Supplement low light levels with a lamp. Ambient non vocal music or flowing water feature. Light energy rich foods. Organization folders.
- Bedroom – In your bedroom you may want to create a restful calming mood. Some starting ideas: Add a dimmer light. Use words like Relax, Calm Rest. Add smells with plants or scents.
- Living Areas – In your living spaces you may want to create a mood for brainstorming, health or long term planning. Some starting ideas: Use words, photos that support income/achievement goals or activity planning. Prepare a gym bag or healthy snack food next to written words or other objects.
When using written words choose the ones that inspire and make you feel good as well as words that describe your goals. Identify specific goals that you would like to achieve and select the words and images for each. Imagine yourself having achieved the goal and choose words that describe that state.
Ideas for working options:
- $ 10 K / mo
- Enjoying Physical Fitness
- 4 Dates Out Each Month
The reverse of positive reminders also applies to negative influences in your life. Try removing things from your environment that negatively affect your actions. This may be clutter, excess furniture, excessive noise, unhealthy foods, TV, destructive relationships etc.
Optimize for results. Every once in a while review how you feel about the spaces you have created. Try changing the wording and placement over time. Some things may not work for you so try new things and experiment.
I have found this exercise very useful for goal achievement after just starting recently and noticed a few things. It’s good to have lots of reminders everywhere so that a lot of your time is spent around them. I don’t pay attention to them often I just let them be. Most of the reminders are subtle and just appear to be decoration by others. The build quality of words and pictures on any wall make a big difference. When using post-it notes or low quality card stock I notice it feels like clutter after a while so i’m switching to using frames and other materials.
Let me know if you try any of these and any improvements you notice.