Friday, May 12, 2023

On your marks! Get set! Go! - Why you need to write down your goals

Last week, we covered the core beliefs that underlie my goal-setting process.

What the core beliefs do for you is they kindle your willingness to start your race, and after your race has begun, they also help you persevere. By helping you to not give up, they help you reach the finish line. 

With the willingness to start your race in place, the next step is to write down your goals. And the action of writing down your goals is not optional. 

Why? Why isn’t it optional to write down your goals? 

Well think of yourself as someone running a race. Imagine you're Usain Bolt. Your goal is to reach the finish line by running your best time. It's not about the other people in the race. It's about you and running your best time. To run your best time, many things impact your race. You often cannot control the external circumstances. Like the weather. And where the officials decide the race will be held. What you can control is yourself. As the athlete, you need four items to help you. But these four items aren't just handed to you. You have to earn them. The key to running your best time is something called a record. And what exactly is this record? When you write something down, you give yourself a record of your intentions. And that record unlocks for you the following four items for running your best time or achieving your goals.

As the athlete, here is how the record helps you:

Item 1: A record makes your goals clear

We can only achieve goals that are clear. And writing is a powerful technique to make clear to ourselves what is usually fuzzy in our minds. When we write down our goals, we clarify what exactly we want. And having this clarity is seeing clearly in our minds what we want to manifest physically - the first key to actually having it.

Imagine again that you're Usain Bolt. If you say your goal is to finish the race, that's one reality.

If you say your goal is to finish first place, that's another reality.

If you say your goal is to break the world record, that's yet another reality.

If you say your goal is to become one of the best athletes of all time, that's yet another reality.

So what desires will your written goals express?

Item 2: A record helps you remember your goals

A record helps you remember. If you don’t write it down, you may forget. If you think you won’t forget, ask the Chinese who say: the palest ink is sharper than the sharpest memory. None of us have memories as good as a record. And if you forget your goals, you won’t act on them. And if you don’t act on them, your life will not improve. So remembering is critical, and a record helps you do that.

Imagine if Usain Bolt forgot once he got on the tracks that his goal was to win the race and got so distracted by supporters that he left the tracks in the middle of the race to hug a supporter. That would be pretty epic. A record helps you not get distracted from what you have purposed to do.

Item 3: A record keeps you honest

We only achieve goals if we’re honest. And a record keeps you honest. 

If you write that your goal is to win first place, but you finish the race in third place, without a record, you might tell yourself that your performance was decent. After all you were not last.  

By telling yourself this lie, your life remains the same. That's how people remain average. All progress rests on truths, and a record is a tool that helps you to tell the truth to yourself.

Item 4: A record helps you stretch to achieve your goals

Because a record helps you to notice when you’re failing to achieve your goals, it nudges you to think of what else can be done to achieve it. Often the actions you need to reach your goals lie outside your comfort zone. And a record that is telling you the truth about where you are, encourages you to do things you would normally not do. By helping you stretch, the record helps you to achieve your goals. 

Usain Bolt always checks in the middle of the race to assess where he is in relation to his opponents. But really it's where he is in relation to his potential. You need to do the same. Your record helps you see when you're underperforming and by so doing pushes you to do better.

Next week we’ll cover what to do after you’ve written down your goals. Until then, enjoy your weekend. Please leave comments if you have questions. Nyame nka wo ho!

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