I have been journaling and setting goals for years. Usually journaling to help clear my mind and goal setting to focus it.
I usually don’t put much thought into the style and/or organization of my journaling and goal setting. I kept my goals in my head for the most part until a few years ago when I lost sight of who I was, where I was, and where I was going in life.
I was happy to discover that after writing my long-term goals and my goals for what would allow me to die a happy man; that I had never actually lost sight of the goals, I had just allowed myself to be shamed and discouraged by various people in my life into thinking my goals were unrealistic and non respectable.
Journaling helped me see that although I had a long way to go to achieve my goals, it didn’t matter what others thought of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. What mattered was my own piece of mind. Journaling helped me see that I had veered very far off course and had dug a very deep hole for myself. Goal setting helped me lay out a tangible and realistic plan and path out of the hole and back onto the right path.
My journaling process recently evolved for the sake of organization and archive accessibility which I’ll write about later. It was something I had thought about doing and had half heartedly done with various smart phone apps, notes, etc. But my goal setting process never really changed. I wrote out my long-term goals. Broke them down into smaller pieces to be achievable in the medium, short, and immediate terms. Occasionally, through meditation I would review them to make sure they were the things in life I wanted to pursue.
Then within two weeks by two different people I was turned onto the concept of daily goal writing. First by my bereavement counselor Frank who proposed daily goal setting as well as using the S.M.A.R.T Goals model. Then about a week later, during my lunch break, I was listening to a podcast by Brendon Burchard that was almost completely dedicated to daily goal writing.
Physically writing out the goals is key, not just typing it out on laptop keyboard or digital keyboard on a smart phone.
At first I was just writing my base goals over and over, day after day. Then I started including some of my smaller day-to-day goals. Then I started using different wording to describe the goals. Then I started incorporating medium term goals. Then I incorporated stuff I wanted to buy followed by budgeting/saving plans. Then I started getting extra specific with how I wanted to achieve the goals and so on and so on.
As a writer this helps me a lot by getting me writing regardless of my mood or time constraints. But even people who aren’t writers, don’t like writing, and don’t care about writers or writing can and will benefit from daily goal writing. Why? Because daily writing will get you thinking about your goals and will keep the goals in the front of your mind because you are revisiting them every day by rewriting them everyday.
When you write the goal and see it written down it gives you perspective one where you are currently on your path to achieving the goal. This will get you both consciously and unconsciously thinking about the goal(s). More often than not the goal will be too generic and obscure so over time you’ll naturally;
- Specify how you want to achieve the goal(s)
- Put a more concrete time frame on achieving the goal(s)
- Revisit why the goal is important to you (and if it still is)
- Write and revise action steps to tangibly achieve the goal(s) step by step
- Discover new goals you want to achieve
- Realize if you are living your life in a way that lends itself to achieving your goal(s)
Daily goal writing dissolves the pie in the sky paradigm of goal setting. Putting the goal down on paper everyday rain or shine, changes the very nature of how you view and go about trying to achieve your goal(s).
This act has had subtle and noticeable changes in my life already.
- I’m finding it easier to focus and prioritize/schedule my time.
- I’m looking at how I spend my time when I’m not working my day job.
- I’m questioning my day job.
- I’m incorporating the goals into my meditation sessions by making sure to do success visualizations in addition to my usual meditation regiment.
Everyone is different and we all have different goals for different reasons. My goals are going to be different from the people reading this blog as they are different from my close friends and family. But like there are universal principles to live by, there are also actions that are universally considered helpful in life. Writing/journaling is one of them.
The most successful people in the history of the world have kept a journal of some sort which helped them achieve their goals of being successful and therefore remembered forever. One’s definition of success may not be to be remembered forever in books and tales, but anyone can benefit from using the lessons of the successful people who have come before us in doing the simple and easy things that build a successful life.
Daily journal writing is one, goal setting is another. The two make a natural combination. I hope combing the two helps you as much and more than it helps me.