In the therapy world triggers are usually something bad. They can be things that people see, hear, smell, touch or taste that cause a person to relive a traumatic experience. But what if a trigger could help you execute your goal? We all have great aspirations but can struggle to meet those aspirations when life gets hectic, right? There is a solution!—Get triggered!


Goal execution only begins with writing down a well thought out goal statement. The real success happens when your goals become a part of life — when you can build triggers that cause you to move into positive action towards your goal.  Let’s break down two things you need to make a trigger that will to help you win!

First let’s make your trigger:


Your trigger doesn’t need to be complicated but it has to be clear.  The easier it is to associate the trigger with the goal the better!  Take some time to figure out one thing that will cause you to make progress in your goal every day.  Don’t think too deeply about it though! You want to work out every morning? Maybe put your gym clothes right where you can see them.  Do something that will make you think “Workout!” Recently, I worked on a process that built writing into my weekly schedule. One thing I did was set my Google Home to start playing a music playlist at the time I scheduled to write! It’s a trigger that makes me come straight to my office and get to work.

The second thing to do is, make it:


Now don’t go putting together elaborate schemes to get yourself motivated to do the work.  You already have your “why” if you took the time to establish clear and focused goals.  Your trigger should be just as clear.  You have a goal of writing in your journal every night before going to bed? Put your journal on your pillow with a pen in the morning before you leave for work.  You want to create a habit of not using social media after a certain time? Have a place to stash your phone when you get home.


Triggers work best when you make them simple and obvious, and when they are built around solid life routines

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Have an alarm set to get you through your workout routine

  • Set up a calendar invite and include a friend on it so they can remind you

  • Phone reminders or prompts

  • Place something that would remind you of the goal in a place where you can’t miss it (workout clothes at the foot of your bed for example)

  • Create automatic withdrawals if you are trying to save money

  • Have daily reminders of your “why” for those key goals

The less you have to think about making your goals happen the better chance you have of them actually happening! Sounds so weird but when you can incorporate behaviors that move you towards executing your goals, you don’t have to think about it and accomplishment just becomes the natural outcome.  Try thinking of ways to incorporate triggers in your life and see how much more you accomplish! And while you’re at it, tell me about it in the comment section below!