There’s a bit of research available that claims writing down your goals, actually improves your chances of reaching them. I personally think that writing down my own goals has historically helped me find direction, when I had too much going on. Where I struggled wasn’t so much with writing down goals, but writing down the right tasks, to reach those goals.
Most often my To Do list would look something like this:
- Make Grocery List
- Check Kids Homework
- Wash the Laundry
- Let the Dog Out
- Fix the Bathroom Light
- Cook Dinner
- Give the Baby a Bath…
I really didn’t have any problem getting through this To Do List on most days, but what would happen is that after I had worked through my list, I would lay down in bed and think…
“I didn’t workout today…”
“I didn’t do any better on trying to quit smoking…”
“I didn’t drink enough water…”
“I didn’t work on writing my book…”
“I didn’t move my goal forward…”
Basically, I had done all of the things I needed to do that day, which felt productive, but I didn’t actually get any closer to reaching any of my goals.
Now, don’t get me wrong. My kids homework needs checked, the laundry needs done, and I’ve got to make dinner. I’m not about to say those things don’t matter or don’t need done. That’s not where this is going.
What I am about to say, is that when I was writing my to do list, I was writing the wrong things down. By writing my day-to-day chores and responsibilities down, I was filling my mind, or rather, distracting my mind, from the bigger picture. I was busy thinking, “What do I need to do today” instead of thinking,
“What do I need to do today that will get me somewhere in a year?“
This is where the shift in mindset needs to be to really get on track for any goals you have. Don’t write down the things you already know you need to do. If you miss doing dishes one day, I promise you. I PROMISE YOU, you won’t care in 10 years.
But, if you keep doing your dishes everyday, instead of going to the gym, I PROMISE YOU, you will care about that in a year.
What I’ve found works best is to create a To Do list that focuses just on your goals and what you need to get done today to move your goals forward.
Completely eliminate anything that doesn’t directly relate to your goals.
- Drink water
- Plan some healthy grocery items
- Practice a skill
These are the things that you want to be writing on your To Do list and by doing so, what I’ve found, is that I was able to focus on these things, get them done, and then still have time to do the dishes and make dinner.
I actually was more productive than I had been before, simply because I shifted the focus of what I needed to get done. I inadvertently put the priority on my goals and made them the number one thing to get done each day, instead of laundry.
If you’re looking for a deeper read on this topic check out my post – The “I HAVE To List” and let me know if this works for you!