And maintaining a living goals list, I must add.
Goal lists can be very beneficial to helping us materialize our ideas, achieve our desired transformations, become what we want to become, and get what we want to have.
But for many of us, there’s one glaring issue. Getting the darn things to work. Goal lists are created for a reason. Well several, but one of the main ones is its power to keep our minds on track.
However, if you don’t know how to use one for all it’s worth, this benefit won’t happen. And things won’t get done. If they do, it’ll likely require a whole heap of struggle that really doesn’t need to happen.
Below are tips for getting your list to finally work for you. I’ve used them. They do work. And I used to make lots of goal lists that went nowhere.
Write your goals in present tense
For our minds to actually start helping us achieve our goals, it needs to know what we want and that the time for action is now.
The first way to do this is to write them in present tense. Using language that indicates “some day” type of action gives our minds wiggle room to give us reasons to slack off.
Valid reasons at that. Have you ever listened to your thinking tell you why it’s ok to slack off and procrastinate? Excuses… Excuse me. The reasons get so convincing we believe them and commence to slacking off.
Work at beating this by writing goals in the now. Instead of writing, “I am losing 30 pounds by June” write “I am so happy to be at my desired weight of [insert your current weight – 30 pounds].” Instead of writing “I am getting out of debt this year” write “I am financially healthy.”
Write your goals in positive affirmative statements
Notice anything in those last two examples? They both removed the focus on what we don’t want (extra 30 pounds, debt) to focusing on what we do want (a goal weight, financial health).
Bringing me to my next tip. Write in positive affirmative statements. Focus of any kind, on what we do want or what we don’t, draws those things to us. It’s not ‘woo woo’ that’s mind science. Like the car analogy I used in this post. Our minds pick up more of what we focus on.
Write goals that pay attention to what you do want instead of focus on removing what you don’t. For instance, if your goal is to hang out with better people, don’t make it a goal to stop hanging out with your current crew. Make it a goal to meet and mingle with people that better align with your new values.
Read them regularly and get a mental picture
I like to read mine day and night if even it’s just a quick skim through. Reading my goals and keeping in touch helps me remember why I’m making the sacrifices I’m making. They keep me thankful in times when I want to get in my feels about what I’m missing out on.
Making sure to read goals regularly does less for helping you remember what you want, and more for helping your mind think in ways that’ll better serve in achieving goals. Because I’m sure we’re pretty aware of what we want. I know I am.
The tricky part is getting the aligning mindset. The mindset and thoughts that’ll help you get out of bed for the gym before work and meal prep for hours on Sunday. The thoughts that’ll help you work on your projects after work instead of watching TV.
Reading goals regularly also helps you develop a mental picture of what you want. Having a mental picture of what you want is a powerful tool for achieving goals.
We actually visualizing all the time. The problem is we keep repeating the same of what we’ve been seeing instead of imagining what we want. We’re stuck on keeping it real, holding tight to trauma and tragic pasts, and being rightfully angry. Keeping us getting the same results.
Which is fine, however, if you’re ready to move on, those old pictures will have to stop being highlights. They don’t have to be totally forgotten. It’ll take a gang of work to do that. But they can be overshadowed into footnotes so you can head in the direction you’re ready to head in.
If you’ve made the decision you will like to have more and feel better, start picturing yourself this way. If you know there is better, imagine better. If even you don’t believe it, imagine it. Play with it. Get lost in it. Imagine yourself already having what’s on your goal list. The cherry on top is doing this imagination, visualization exercise with a gang of gratitude.
For example, I often times imagine myself happily gardening in the backyard of my Berkeley home. I see myself feeling the sun and taking a deep breath as I am suddenly overcome with gratitude because I’m finally gardening in my beautiful backyard. Gives me the tingles even as I write about it.
Reading goals regularly and imagining them as already here are like having cheat codes in my opinion. Especially if you read your goals right before falling asleep and get excited about them then. I’ve woken up with fresh bomb ass ideas doing this.
Don’t be afraid to rewrite, clarify, and get more detailed
Your goal lists don’t have to be final with your first draft. It’s ok to keep imagining them and getting more detailed about them. It is ok to add to them.
I believe this happens anyways as we take more time to think about and imagine what we want. We begin to flesh out our ideas, get more excited about them, and maybe even add elements to them that further stretch us.
Maybe you’ll develop a final list, maybe not. And if you don’t want to touch your list at all, that’ll also fine as well for sure. The point here is to do what feels best in order to keep your list of goals live and functioning optimally.
I’ll probably finally create an official master list (I have a few now) and keep writing my goals out when I feel like dreaming and getting excited. Confession… I do this at work when I need to take my eyes off the computer. I write my goals, ideas and intentions and get excited about them.
Put it where you’ll see it
When you do get that final list, or one you know you won’t feel like changing for a while, put it up like a personal work of art. It is your manifesto. Your declaration that things are changing and your life is moving how you want it. Own it.
Not saying you’ve got to put it where others will see it too. But put it in the bathroom as reading material. (Remove it when you’ve got guest.) Tuck it into a magazine or book you know you read regularly. Print a copy for the bedroom, a copy for your car, and a copy for your locker or drawer at work. Put it wherever you’ll run into it regularly.
Keeping it in site will greatly improve the likelihood of getting what you want, improving your focus, and moving you in a better serving direction daily. It’ll begin to help you make decisions and see things that better serve you and the achievement of your goals.
Cross off what you get and be thankful, even for what’s on the way
This is a cool way of reminding yourself this stuff works. So far, I’ve crossed off a job at a tech company, a new iphone, a lowered car note, and my nails done. I got all this only within months of reading my list of goals more often.
And I give thanks. I give gratitude for what comes to me, own it as what I accomplished, and I give gratitude for what’s on the way. I especially love to be thankful for becoming aware of my power to achieve my goals and draw good to me. It’s a beautiful feeling.
Conclusion & Homework
Get the most out of your list of goals by making it a functioning document in your life. Read it, use it, get excited about it. Keep it live. If you’ve got a gang of dusty, forgotten lists lying in your wake, give these tips a try and just see what happens.
Homework, matter of fact, is to give these tips a try for at least two weeks straight. If you’re easily forgetful like I can be, set reminders that’ll notify you on your phone or computer.
Write out your list in present tense, positive affirmations, read them regularly and visualize, rewrite if needed, and put them where you’ll see them. Then set reminders to read them at least right before bed.