Science Says Add Simply 1 Ingredient to Your To-Do Checklist to ‘Remarkably’ Enhance Your Success Fee
Almost every to-do list has at least one of these items: A task that you really want or need to cross off your list, but can’t stand the thought of actually starting. Much less to do.
It looks too hard. Or boring. Or intimidating.
So it sits there. Stared at you Occasionally Doc Holliday winks at you.
In 2017, a study commissioned by the National Science Foundation examined more than 61 research experiments to investigate ways to improve levels of education.
Three factors made the biggest difference to student success in the short and long term: a sense of belonging, acceptance of a growth philosophy (here’s an introduction to the difference between this and a fixed mindset), and consideration of the students’ personal goals and values felt directly with their educational activities connected.
Makes sense. It’s hard to stay on course when you don’t feel you belong. It is difficult to keep the course if you do not believe that intelligence, skill, or skill can be developed through effort.
And it’s really hard to stay on course when you can’t see how what you’re doing – especially when what you’re doing is difficult – getting you where you want to go.
So you’re probably doing at least two of these things without thinking. Goals naturally make us feel part of a group: entrepreneurs, leaders, creators, people trying to get fit or lose weight. Most of the goals are relevant; Otherwise they wouldn’t be on your list.
But then there is that. According to the researchers, a “noteworthy” finding included a brief writing exercise. Some students had to write about the relevance of course topics to their own lives or to the life of a family member or close friend – in short, to actually write down their “why”.
Those who have not only improved significantly in this class, their success rate has improved in several consecutive semesters. As a bonus, the writing exercise showed the greatest benefit for groups of students at greatest risk for academic failure.
In short, the harder the task – or the less likely you are to believe you can accomplish it, and the more likely you are to complete it – the longer it will take you a few seconds to write down your “why”. will be important.
Try it. Write a “Why?” for the items on your to-do list that seem difficult, boring, or intimidating. Write down why it is important. Write down how it will benefit you – or someone close to you -. Write down what you learn, what you will gain … write down the what and the why.
Turn your to-do list into a why-to-do list.
And then do the same for some of your larger goals – especially those personal goals that tend to be sacrificed in the service of others to pursue. (I’m sure you are better at doing things for others than you are for yourself.)
Write down why you want to lose weight. Or get fitter. Or go back to school. Or acquire a new skill. Or start a sideline or business.
Don’t just write down a goal or a task. Write down their relevance to your life.
And, in a broader sense, on the lives of others – because your growth almost always benefits those around you.
Even if it will only take a moment, the impact on your success rate will be huge.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.