With the New Year in full swing, it’s likely that the sticky subject of exactly how to achieve your goals, remains. What works for one person simply doesn’t work for another. And it can be disheartening to find that your crisp new planner or calendar – that held so much promise – is now filled with routine tasks and a myriad of “busy work”. It’s especially disheartening if this work is solely to push forward other people’s goals.
But what if this is THE year? The year you’ll launch that business, get that pay rise, write that book, or design that game-changing innovation. It’s time to take control and take a different approach.
Most of us have been taught about the power of writing down goals. The studies are clear. Writing down our goals, in SMART format helps us to achieve them. In fact, a study at Dominican University found that 43% of people who wrote down their goals achieved them. People who went one step further and shared their goals with a friend and sent them weekly updates were 33% more successful in accomplishing their goals. Writing works. Specifically, the act of writing stimulates the reticular activating system (RAS) in the brain. The RAS is like a filter and it sorts the things that are written down as being important.
But going one step further than that can make all the difference. There are always ups and downs when it comes to achieving our goals. And doing freewriting and other creative writing exercises can enable you to get to the heart of what’s really stopping you from moving forward. Put simply, freewriting is where you write out your thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness without correcting yourself. Doing this on a regular basis can transform your life. It can help you to flesh out ideas and bring subconscious thoughts and feelings to light. The great thing is that these are private – for your eyes only. Journaling enables you to work through what you need to, in order to be a shining star in the world.
To support true transformation, it’s vital to go beyond lists, checklists, goals and visions. This is because your core beliefs and values drive what you do. If you’re largely unconscious of these, you can unwittingly sabotage your dreams.
For instance, if you subconsciously believe that rest and recuperation is a weakness, you may push yourself too hard and burn out. If you subconsciously believe you’re just not an assertive person, then you may have a hard time dealing with bullies, which can derail your goals. Similarly, if deep down, you’re afraid of “putting yourself out there”, then you may mistake the inevitable ups and downs with proof that you're not cut out for success.
Journaling isn’t always an easy. From the time we start school, we’re taught that writing is something with right or wrong answers. That it’s about structure, grammar and spelling. That it’s about writing down correct answers, telling stories that please others and doing whatever you can to avoid that ubiquitous red pen.
As a result, many people end up blocked and stifled when they write. For some, the very act of writing can harbour deep shame if their words have ever been criticised or used to humiliate them, or worse. However, the flipside of this is true power. When you feel free to express your innermost thoughts, you feel free to go for the life goals you really want. And by journaling, you’ll be in good company. Frida Kahlo, Albert Einstein and Marie Curie are just a handful of the household names that kept a journal. Start simple and start small. A few minutes, a pen and a notebook are all you need to begin.
Greta Solomon is the author of Heart, Sass & Soul: Journal Your Way to Inspiration and Happiness. Follow her on Twitter.
Original post here!