What are your biggest goals right now?
Are they just swimming in your head without a place to land?
Tell those goals it’s time to relocate to a place outside of your head. It will be best for everyone involved.
Where are they going to go?
On whatever piece of paper, you can find!
Putting Pen to Paper
In all seriousness, it’s totally fine (awesome even) to be dreaming and scheming, with different ideas running through your mind. But at a certain point, you have to take action.
One of the first action steps you can take is to put pen to paper and write down what it is you want to dream into reality.
Just ask your friendly local Neuropsychologist – it works.
Writing it Down: Ask a Scientist
Scientific studies have been able to back up these theories.
Researchers have discovered a neurological process called “encoding”.
This biological process is the journey where the stimuli we perceive in the world travel to our brain’s hippocampus – aka the memory and learning center.
In the hippocampus, this information is analyzed and the hardworking employees of the hippocampus decide what gets stored in your long-term memory, and what gets discarded.
What does this have to do with writing?
Remember being in school and your teachers would emphasize the importance of writing down your notes? Or that when studying for a big exam the process of writing flashcards is just as important, if not more, than actually using them?
It’s because of encoding.
When you write something down, you have a much greater chance of remembering it, and when it comes to goals – bringing them to life.
There are so many cognitive processes taking place when you think of a goal, write it down, and then look at it again. All of these processes are working together to help cement that goal, encourage you to take action steps towards it, and ultimately achieve it.
Out of Your Brain, and Into Storage
The other piece to writing down your goals is called “external storage”. Aka keeping your goals somewhere outside of just your head. Whether this is a vision board, a journal, or post its above your desk, these visual reminders help to remind you of what you’re working towards and keep you on track.
These visual reminders can have a powerful effect on our motivation.
It’s Thursday. It’s been a long week, and you’re ready for a little break. You want to throw in the towel, maybe take the day off tomorrow. Then you see it.
The visual reminder of the goal that keeps you going. The biggest things that you’re working towards.
You take a deep breath and face the rest of the day with a renewed spirit.
That’s the power of writing down your goals.
Overthinking Takes Energy
Have you noticed that when you’re constantly ruminating over something, you tend to feel tired?
Even the seemingly positive things in your life can take up energy if you’re constantly thinking about them and trying to grasp them.
Believe me, they’re not going anywhere. You can help give your brain a break and take actionable steps towards reaching these goals by simply writing them down.
You understand a bit of the neuroscience behind writing down goals, you know the importance of preserving mental energy and how to use it wisely, but can these strategies be applied to things other than goals?
Now Try it with Affirmations
Goals aren’t just about things that you want to achieve professionally.
They can also be personal goals or even ways that you want to feel in life.
Affirmations or mantras or phrases that you repeat to yourself to help bring about a certain outcome.
These are some common, yet powerful affirmations:
- I am energetic throughout my day.
- I create meaningful connections everywhere I go.
- I stay creatively inspired.
- I am in service to my community.
Just like your goals, affirmations are that much more powerful when you write them down.
It’s like you’re telling the Universe (or whatever you want to call it) – this is what I want, I’m taking surefooted steps towards it, and it’s going to happen.
Now that you understand the importance of writing down your goals and affirmations, let’s give you a few practical tips to walk away with.
- Have a set space: Have a specific journal, poster board, or zone where you write down what you want to achieve. Giving them a specific home creates structure and meaning around this practice.
- Make it dynamic: Go beyond just writing down what you want. Draw pictures to go with it. Say how you want to feel once you achieve this goal.
- Get specific: If it’s a financial goal or something tangible, get specific and write down numbers. Create a timeline and use actual dates for when you want to achieve certain parts of the goal.
- Be assertive: We’re often timid when it comes to saying what we want, even if it’s just to our notebook. Be assertive and clear about what you want – this pays off!
Now grab your journal and get to it!