A Powerful Exercise in Writing Down Goals

All Debt

I’m not the first to say it, and I won’t be the last:

Write down your goals!

Something happens when you make that transition. It’s no longer a daydream or a neat idea—it’s a goal. As I said a few days ago, you need to make that transition from hoping that something comes to pass, to beginning to solve the problem of how it will come to pass.

By writing down your goals, you make that mental transition. It’s a commitment of sorts. We are all wired or conditioned, as Robert Cialdini writes, in his book Influence, to place a premium value on consistency. Being inconsistent is viewed as a negative in our culture.

He writes, “Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision.” In other words, we feel like we need to stick it out. We need to do what we say.

I don’t know about you, but I want to respond in ways that justify my goals. When I write down a goal, I am making a decision, a personal commitment to that result, and it triggers in me these response mechanisms.

Toward the beginning of this year, I listened to a podcast by Michael Hyatt that outlined some phenomenally helpful thoughts on effective goal-setting. While talking about the importance of writing them down, he mentions a great little strategy that I immediately made my own.

For each of my goals—there were about 7, and Mr. Hyatt recommends a maximum of 10—I created a graphic. I grabbed cool photos of space and nature and so on, and put my written goals on those photos. I then took those photos and placed them all into a folder on my computer.

Finally, I went into settings, chose the photo collage screen saver, selected that folder as the target source, and viola!

Goal setting screen saver. Now I see my goals in written form, every single day.

This accomplishes two things. First, it reminds me of what I’m working toward, and helps me to focus my time and energy. Secondly, it reminds me of what I’ve accomplished.

There seems to be some real substance behind this. I don’t believe that it’s magic, that the Universe is responding to my vibrations, and that if I daydream about it hard enough, a Ferrari will mysteriously appear in my driveway. I believe it’s far more practical than that. Very few of us focus to the level that we’re capable. This exercise helps us to channel an impressive amount of energy, effort, intelligence, creativity and focus toward the right ends.

As evidence, I’ll share with you one example from my personal experience.

One of the goals on my screen saver states, “I will eliminate all debt aside from the house by December 31, 2016.”

Well, today is June 28, 2016. And I just did.

If that sounds like bragging, well, it might be, just a little.

Go write down you goals. Then reach them. Then brag about it a little.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *