I have two friends who run marathons.  Both always want to quit around mile 20, but somehow, when they see the finish line, they sprint to the end.  How could someone so fatigued at mile 20 be gazelle-like at the end?  Simple – it’s human nature to be energized when getting close to a goal.

In the book Before Happiness, Harvard researcher Shawn Archer describes this phenomenon of human nature in detail.  It turns out that the perception that you’ve already begun achieving your goal can make you more likely to achieve it.  Here are three simple ways to apply this insight to your life in compliance.

1.      Write Down Things You’ve Already Done

When you’re making your to-do list, do you only write down the things you need to do or do you included things you’ve already done?  Give yourself a head start by writing down two or three things you’ve already accomplished.  Already done a quick once-over of your email?  Check that off immediately.  Already checked your voicemail?  Great!  Get that one off the list.  By reminding yourself that you’re already in the swing of things, you’ll be inspired to keep checking things off the list.

2.      Put Appointments On Your To-Do List

Let’s say you have a team meeting every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. and a group meeting at 12:00.  Put them on your to-do list!  You know you’re going to attend the meetings, but being able to check them off as soon as they are done will give you a sense of satisfaction that will motivate you to complete the other items on your list.

3.      Don’t Start at Zero

Studies have shown that people are much more motivated to reach their charitable giving goals when they don’t start at zero. In fact, evidence shows that if you’re trying to raise $500 for charity, if you start with $25 that you yourself put in, that will encourage both you and other potential donors to give more money because you’re already on your way.  Use this insight to your advantage.  Let’s say your mandatory online training is being rolled out, and your team has already completed it. Great!  Start your Excel sheet with one team down, the rest of the company to go.  Psychologically speaking, you’ll be better off as you start somewhere instead of nowhere. 

Use these simple techniques and you’ll be crossing the finish line faster than you ever thought possible.