Editor’s Note: This story is part of 5 Habits Changes You Can Actually Make In 2015. Check out the full list here.
Marketers have been using visual triggers forever. Ad campaigns like “Got Milk” make us associate certain environmental cues with their products–now every time we see a giant chocolate chip cookie we think, that would go great with some milk.
This tactic is both clever and surprisingly simple. In the broadest sense of the term, a trigger is something that causes something else to happen. So when advertisers group their product with a particular environmental cue, they’re expecting that cue that we see in our everyday lives to trigger our association with their product.
In the same way, we can use triggers to improve ourselves. By turning things we commonly see or experience into environmental cues we can remind ourselves of tasks and goals we want to accomplish.
Start by making a list of goals you want to accomplish, either long-term or short-term. One long-term goal I have for example is that I want to work out every morning before I head into the office.
Next, think of what environmental cue you would associate with each goal. Bright pink sneakers definitely remind me of working out.
And lastly, place these cues in a prominent place where you will see them. I would put mine right next to my bedroom door so that I see them before I go to bed and when I wake up in the morning.
It’s easy to forget our goals and put them on the backburner, but by reminding ourselves with triggers, hopefully we’ll prod ourselves enough to actually make an effort.
[h/t: “Time To Get Trigger Happy”]
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