Remember your New Year resolutions?

“I’m going to be more productive this year!”

“I want to be more organized this year!”

“I will be spending more time with my family!”

“I’m going to get fit this in this New Year!”

Making New Year resolutions is a good thing, but how many of your “New Year Resolutions” are you working on right now? If you are working on at least one of them right now, congratulations, you are now working towards your goal! More power to you!

Most of us however, forget what we promised ourselves after a few weeks, or in some cases a few days. We are so forgetful. Or perhaps, your “New Year Resolutions” aren’t powerful enough to fire you up, to get your blood pumping in your veins. Because of all these reasons, we end up not sticking to what we planned at the beginning of the year.

And that’s why you need to make a change! Start a daily to-do list to remind yourself about your New Year Resolutions, your goals. Blend your New Year Resolutions into your daily to-do list.

Here are plenty of reasons why you should start making a daily to-do list:

1. As a reminder.

Before I developed the habit of creating a daily to-do list, things didn’t go well. Yes, I know what I needed to do every day, but sometimes I just forget. We are usually clear on what tasks we want to accomplish at the beginning of the day or the night before, but by the end of the day, we will probably miss out on a good portion of those tasks. Some of us are just so forgetful.

By jotting down what you want to do every day on a notepad, you are clear with the things you want to accomplish. You will have a clear direction. It will constantly act as a reminder. Only a single glance is needed to remind ourselves about what we should and need to do.

2. A sense of achievement.

Crossing off a task from your to-do list feels great. You can’t deny it if you have tried it before. You’ll feel motivated every time you cross off the task you have done. These small achievements are what going to makes you feel good and make you want to continue with your to-do list.

“Happiness doesn’t come from big pieces of great success, but from small advantages hammered out day by day.”

– Jim Rohn

By having a to-do list, you are not only aware of what you should do, but you are also seeing the result of your day’s work. You will be delighted of how much task you have done every day. (Assuming you are productive that day) You will be pumped up by all these tasks you have done throughout the day. The sense of achievement keeps you moving forward.

3. To track your productivity.

A to-do list indicates how many tasks you have achieved on that particular day. Let’s say you have 5 tasks to be completed, at the end of the day, you only have 3 tasks crossed-off from your list. You know you aren’t as productive as you want to be. That’s how you track your productivity. I suggest you to set a benchmark for yourself. For instance, having 4 tasks completed every day means I am fairly productive. There is no need to be a perfectionist. Take baby steps!

I am used to reviewing my to-do list at the end of the day. Every night before I go to bed, I review my to-do list and look back at what I have done that day. When I see that too many tasks are left undone, I know that something is wrong. Therefore, I have to change the way I spend my time the next day. The to-do list provides me with a clear picture on how well I performed throughout the day.

Not only that, I can compare how well I performed every day or every week. I can track how productive I was in the past as well, all with the aid of a to-do list.

4. Motivation

A to-do list may not really motivate you dramatically, but it’s still a great source of motivation. As we know, in our to-do lists, we will write down what we are going or plan to work on throughout the day. We would have set our daily goals.

We have written our goals. And with the list constantly serving as a reminder, we are going to work on it. Now, we need to have one more goal which is not written in the to-do list – Cross off as many tasks in the to-do list as possible (preferably cross off all of them). We need to have this thought in our mind. “At the end of the day, I’m going to cross off all the tasks in my to-do list”

The daily goals will serve as our motivation. The desire to cross off our goals will also serve as our motivation.

You can also make it more interesting by adding in rewards. Let’s said you have 4 tasks to be done, you may set your own reward/punish system:

If I only complete one task, I’m going to deny myself the luxury of an extra hour of sleep.

If I complete four tasks, I’m going to treat myself to a steak this weekend.

You know, just think of it as a game. In games, there are things like milestones and achievements, this works in a similar way. If you feel like rewarding yourself daily is too much, modify it to rewarding yourself weekly. Every week, you reflect on how well you performed and then proceed to reward or punish yourself for it.

5. Self-discipline

Let’s admit it:

We procrastinate all the time. Maybe after completing one, we’ll give ourselves an excuse and take a break. Eventually, we start procrastinating. We break the momentum of sticking to our to-do list.

It takes a high level of self-discipline to stick to our schedule. Unfortunately, self-discipline is exactly what most of us lack. However, even you are not a very disciplined person, it doesn’t mean that a to-do list won’t work for you. In fact, it benefits you even more.

It’s a chance for you to develop your self-discipline. It is like training. You’ll have practice every day and improve a little by a little. You monitor your progress, observe and find out the ways to improve it, eventually improving your self-control as well.

I – myself, am still in the progress of learning. Some days I perform well, some days I procrastinate a lot. But, as long as I learn from it, it doesn’t matter. We all know it takes time to develop a high level of self-discipline, or anything for that matter.

Remember one of the most famous quotes of Theodore Roosevelt, “With self-discipline most anything is possible”. Self-discipline is one of the most instrumental skills required to achieve success in your life. And, you got to develop it yourself!


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