1. Make a step-by-step plan.
2. Tell other people about my goals.
3. Think about the good things that will happen if I achieve my goal.
4. Reward myself for making progress towards my goal.
5. Record my progress (in a journal or on a chart).
Each of these five tools significantly increased the likelihood of people successfully achieving their aims. Let's look at each one in turn.
1. Make a step-by-step plan. Successful participants broke their overall goal into a series of sub-goals, and thereby created a stop-by-step process that helped remove the fear and hesitation often associated with trying to achieve a major life change. These plans were especially powerful when the sub-goals were concrete, measureable, and time-based.
2. Tell other people about my goals. Keeping your aims to yourself makes it too easy to drift back into your old habits and routines. People are more likely to stick to their views and promises once they have gone public. Other work suggests that the greater the public declaration, the more motivated people are to achieve their goals.
3. Think about the good things that will happen if I achieve my goal. Those who frequently reminded themselves of the benefits associated with achieving their goals weren't imagining their perfect selves, but rather having an objective checklist of how life would be better once they had obtained their aim.
4. Reward myself for making progress towards my goal. Successful participants ensured that each of their sub-goals had a reward attached to it. Often it was something small but never anything that conflicted with the goal itself.
5. Record my progress (in a journal or on a chart). Successful participants made their plans, progress, rewards and benefits as concrete as possible by expressing them in writing. The act of writing significantly boosted their success.
This short quote comes from Dr Richard Wiseman's book, :59 Seconds. The book has excellent exercises linked to these insights and adds the power of doublethinking to goal setting, looking at benefits and obstacles simultaneously to trigger motivation. It's an excellent book which I recommend.