“Until you commit your goals to paper, you have intentions that are like seeds without soil” – Anonymous
I hear plenty of people say that goal-setting and planning are unnecessary or limiting. That if they narrow their focus or thoughts to a particular outcome that they might miss out on something better. Or, people say that “I know what my goals are, I don’t need to write them down.”
Well, I am here to say — as definitively as I can — that both approaches are incorrect.
Writing down goals and planning are only limiting if one limits themselves. No where in goal-setting or planning does it say that modification or adaption is dis-allowed. In fact, it’s encouraged, required even. It is only when we take purposeful action in a direction that we can gather information and evidence as to the soundness of that approach.
And not writing down goals is just as unfortunate. There is a mechanism in our nervous system that reacts positively to the focus-deepening act of writing down one’s goals. It is our sub-conscious minds that do the “heavy-lifting” of goal achievement. I’m no neuro-physiologist, but my study (and practice) has lead me to the truth that writing down goals really helps, and works.
Otherwise, our sub-conscious has only our thoughts and images to go by in terms of what we want. If you’ve ever truly paid attention to the thoughts and images you hold in your head on a regular basis, you would be surprised, and probably disappointed, in the way you talk to yourself and the things you imagine (that’s a subject for another post though).
So, write down your goals (in positive, action-oriented, present-tense terms) repeatedly; at least once a quarter, and the more often, the better. And, by the way, it must be in your own hand, not typed — the physical act of writing down your goals is key. Beyond that, regular, vivid imagining, complete with intense, positive emotions of having achieved your goals, is the way to prime the pump of your success (regular, intelligent action and adaptation is the way to goal achievement).
I will post soon on the practice of intelligent goal-setting and effective visualization — stay tuned.