A simple way to “stick” to a new plan…

How are the New Year’s resolutions coming? How about any commitment to self-improvement?

A helpful idea that’s quite simple (it almost seems silly to write about it) is theĀ “sticky-note” technique.

I credit this technique for a number of ideas that have become habit for many people.

How does it work?

Pick one element of your own personal improvement plan, then put a sticky note in a strategic place as a reminder.

Note – it’s very important to move it frequently enough that it stays fresh, and does not start to blend into the landscape.

For example, I have a sticky note that says “9/20” on my desk. I think it has something to do with an email from September 20th, but I think I put it there in October… I don’t remember why. I’m going to throw it away right now. Wait – it’s got a phone number on it, and I don’t know what for. Dang. I hadn’t noticed it until I wrote the second sentence of this paragraph.) Move it frequently.

I know a teacher who went through a grumpy phase and forgot to smile at her students. She put a smiley-face sticky note on the upper left corner of her lectern, then moved it each day to a new corner. After a while, her students complimented her on her improved mood.

A similar example: there was a doctor who smiled at his patients, but not his staff. He put blank sticky notes on the doorjambs leading into staff-only areas. When people asked him why they were there, he just smiled. It helped.

There was a manager who realized she had a horrible habit of interrupting, both to finish the others’ thoughts, and to cut to the chase. She thought she was being helpful and efficient. We know she was just being rude. She put a sticky on the edge of her computer that simply said “STOP.” She knew what it meant, moved it around, and was soon a much better listener and team player.

Simple stuff can make a big difference. Write it, stick it, and stick to it.

DSC_0768_2Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer

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