Temporal Landmarks for Achieving Goals (and a Brain Dump List)


Temporal landmarks are those points in time, like January 1 or the start of a month, that you're more likely to take action and make changes in your life. When you hit a temporal landmark, your motivation is high before fading out. It's our natural rhythm. So the key is taking advantage of those moments of high motivation when they come to make small changes that will make you happier over time. I try to use this momentum at the start of every week, but it usually happens for me each month. A new month just feels so fresh!

Of course, you have to be intentional with these moments and the best way to do that is to create your own mini reset rituals. Here's some of mine:

Reset My Space

I always start a monthly reset ritual with resetting my space. I am hugely affected by the state of my surroundings so if it's not back to normal, I can't focus on anything else. I make sure there's no visible clutter, the kitchen is clean, the floors are vacuumed, the laundry is done or at least in progress. I open windows and light candles - it makes it feel like a whole new space and in turn, I feel motivated for a whole new month.

Brain Dump

I do this in Evernote just because it's too much writing for me. Brain dumps and reflections are incredibly helpful because it's frustrating to have thoughts continually swirling in your head, like the reminder than you need to take out the recycle. By putting it down on paper (or digitally), I get all of those things out of my head for good, and I know I'm not forgetting anything. 

Here are some things I consider when I need to do a brain dump:

- What's on my mind right now?
- What do I need to take action on? Has anyone asked me to do anything? Did I tell anyone I would do something for them?
- Do I need to respond to any emails or direct messages?
- Am I waiting for a response? Do I need to follow up?
- Do I need to deep clean any space in my home?
- Is there anything in my space I need to declutter or organize?
- Does anything need to be repaired? 
- Do I need to purchase anything, or start saving for a large purchase?
- Are there any outstanding bills I need to pay
- Do I need to clean up anything on my phone or laptop, or storage drives?
- Are any important events coming up I need to plan for or purchase something for, like a birthday?
- Do I need to book any appointments? Or any for my family members or pets?
- How am I feeling overall?

Your brain dump may include a lot more questions, I just let the thoughts flow until I feel like there's nothing left stressing me out.

Life Update and Goal Check In

I use this blog for goal check ins, of course, with my monthly Powersheets post. I also like to check in with the live people in my life though who can keep me accountable and provide feedback and motivation. This is generally Betsy, because she's also huge on goals and has her own 101 in 1001 list, and also my friend Megan, since she is on a weight loss/health journey as well. And when I talk to them, we're also able to do a 'life update' as well. I talk to them both daily, but every few weeks we have longer talks where they fill me on on their jobs, family, home life, etc and vice versa. It's always helpful to talk through things with friends because they can provide fresh eyes on a situation, from a non-judgmental place, even if you didn't think anything needed attention at the moment. I always walk away from those talks with a list of things I'm actually excited to work on in the next 4 weeks, plus a list of ways I can help them too.

Plan Fun

If I don't plan in fun, it doesn't always happen. My version of fun is watching a movie with John and Hawkeye, which is lovely, but since we're all homebodies, we end up missing out on the outside world (and other people!) By scheduling in some fun things, I make sure I still see my friends sometimes and enjoy the city, like going for long walks or visiting a new farmer's market. Plus, it makes this 'reset time' enjoyable, rather than all work and no play. It's also a good way to keep yourself motivated and inspired all month, because you have these things to look forward to.


Do you use temporal landmarks to make progress on your goals?

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