Thursday, January 28, 2010

How To Achieve Your Goals: Write Them Every Day

Somewhere in the last two weeks, I came across a tip Brian Tracy put in his email about writing your goals down every day. I saved the email for later, and decided to follow the tip.

Somehow, my brain remembered it as “Write your top 10 goals down every morning”, so I began that day. I’ve had times in the past when I would read my goals out loud every morning, but I’ve never written them, with a pen, daily. I decided to give it a try.

So, every morning, I’d take out my Moleskine and write 10 goals. I somehow managed to get 10 goals out of my head and onto paper, and ran with them for now.

I discovered something interesting. As I wrote my goals out every morning, they began to refine themselves. I realized that 4 goals could be combined into 2 goals, making room for 2 more on my list of 10. I can’t say I’ve had that happen to me. At one point in the past, I set a goal, and after looking at it every day decided “nah, I don’t want to do that” and changed direction.

Then, yesterday, I reread the email from Brian Tracy. This is what the section ACTUALLY said:
Goal Setting
Every morning, take three to five minutes to write out your top goals in the present tense. Get a spiral notebook for this purpose. By writing out your ten goals at the beginning of each day, you will program them deep into your subconscious mind.

I’ve never been good with writing down a desired outcome in the present tense. It always felt kind of hokey to me. But, I have nothing to lose right now. I’d like to see a change of direction in at least one area of my life, specifically, the area of my life that brings in the money. I’m at a low point right now. It’s a long story, and if you’ve followed my last few weeks of entries, you realize that I need to erect some boundaries in what I share with other people. Go ahead and read my back entries through November, then keep going. These blog posts don’t read themselves.

OK, writing goals in the present tense. I decided to try it because I have nothing to lose. I wrote all 10 of my goals in the present tense, as if they already happened (i.e. “I own an iPad”). Just kidding on that one, but you should get the point.

Something strange happened: I looked at my goals in a different light. I reworded a couple of them, but I was forced to consider if more of my goals were really where I wanted to end up. I also realized that looking at my goals in the present tense, 3 of them end up in the same place, so they’re really just the means to the end of a single goal.

Consider this scenario. You set a goal “I want a big house.” Now, look at it in the present tense: “I have a big house”. Think about it. “Uh-oh! I have a big house. Man, this thing takes a lot of time to clean, and it costs a fortune to air condition. I live in New Jersey, and the property taxes are astronomical! Did I really want a house this big?”

It’s hard to describe, but I guess I can say, looking at my goals in the present tense also showed me the consequences of those goals. It made me wonder if that is really where I wanted to end up after all.

I’m going to keep up with this exercise and see where it ends up. Hopefully, it ends up with my goals met.

What about you? What techniques do you use to set and meet your goals? Have you tried writing them every day in the present tense?
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