Series: Nail Those Goals: Step One: The Big List

Series: Nail Those Goals: Step One: The Big List

Sitting down and setting goals can be tough. Intimidating. A daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be any of those nasty adjectives. Just like your planner (if you keep one), there is no Right or Wrong way to set goals. If you want to do things with your life, you just have to set goals.

And then Do Them.

It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you do it. However, if you feel you lack direction, it can feel overwhelming to force yourself to sit down and really think about exactly what you’d like to achieve. So, my next series of posts is going to let you in on my majorly easy, nearly-painless, hopefully-helpful way to at least start yourself on the road to setting and achieving your goals.

Today, we talk about The Big List.

The Big List is just that — a big list. Find yourself 15 minutes to start a list of all of the things you want to achieve, big and small.

Don’t worry about the format. If you love paper, write it out on paper. If you want more room, ask a local library if you can use a conference room for a half-hour and use their dry erase board (just remember to at least take a picture of it when you’re done or all of your work will be for naught).

It doesn't matter where or how you make your Big List. It's the Doing that matters.
It doesn’t matter where or how you make your Big List. It’s the Doing that matters.

Go crazy. What do you want? Splurge. No barriers, no holds barred. Write until you can’t think of another
single thing to add to the list.

The Big List
Write down even the things that the cynical part of your brain says are crazy.

Writing out The Big List serves three purposes:

  1.  Getting all of these great intentions out of your head, where they’re taking up valuable real estate, frees up your brain for productive thoughts instead of simply wishful ones.
  2. Seeing this fantastic list in front of your eyes instead of just pictured in your mind makes it all more tangible.
  3. The physical act of writing actually changes your brain chemistry and motivates you to pursue these goals. Really. Physically writing things down activates the RAS (reticular activating system) in the base of your brain that serves as a kind of filter for everything your brain needs to focus on at any given moment. Writing things down honestly, physically, chemically, changes your brain’s perspective on those things. Cool, huh? (Here’s a great article discussing this phenomenon.)

Now walk away from it. Let your brain really start to process what you’ve put out there. I assure you, if you’ve never tried anything like this before, you’ll be shocked by how often you find yourself thinking about Your List. Writing all of that down will get your brain going. Unbidden, other ideas will come to you. Jot them down the moment you think of them, because the really good ones will escape your brain forever if you don’t catch them right away.

That’s Step One. Just get it all out there, any way you like.

Next time we’ll discuss Step Two… Dissecting The Big List.



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