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Once you have figured out what your big dreams are, the next step is to get them on paper. There is real power in putting your dreams in writing. You’ve already experienced that if you completed the exercise in this post. Now they are no longer ethereal “someday” thoughts, but concrete ideas in black and white. Write it down, make it happen – it works!
Although it may seem a little “woo-woo,” there is a very scientific explanation as to why it works so well.
It has to do with the way your brain works. As you probably know, your brain has two hemispheres: the left/logical side, and the right/creative side. The two sides are connected by a bundle of fibers (called the corpus callosum, in case you were curious), which is sort of a superhighway across which electrical signals travel, allowing the two sides to communicate.
When you write down your goals, you engage both sides of your brain, sending the message that you are not messing around!
Don’t you feel more serious now that you have spent some time contemplating your dreams writing them down?
In fact, according to a study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, a professor at the Dominical University of California, you are actually 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down.
The best part is, there is a way to supercharge your goals even further by adding clarity and emotion. Take a moment and bring up a memory with strong positive feelings attached. If you close your eyes, I bet you can almost put yourself right back in that moment, recalling details with amazing clarity. Why? Because that memory is steeped in emotion.
How do you add clarity and emotion to your goals? By writing the story, complete with details and feelings.
1. Write “as if”
Here is an interesting fact: your subconscious mind takes direction from your conscious mind and accepts information literally, as truth. In other words, it is unable to tell the difference between what is real or imagined.
Furthermore, once you feed your subconscious mind information, it goes right to work trying to reconcile your external world with your internal world.
When you write down your goals as if they have already happened, it activates a special part of your brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS acts as a filter between your conscious and subconscious mind, determining which bits of the massive amount of sensory information you encounter at any given time are allowed through to the conscious mind.
Have you ever noticed that when you decide you want, say, a certain kind of car, you suddenly see them everywhere? Or how you are able to hear your name spoken across a crowded room?That is your RAS at work.
Writing down your goals “as if” turns your RAS into a heat seeking missile, searching out opportunities and solutions you may have overlooked before.
Think about how powerful that is! It means you have the ability to create your reality by first imagining it!
2. be positive
If I tell you not to think about the cookies sitting on the counter, what is the only thing you are going to be able to think of? Cookies, right?! We want to make sure to put the right ideas into our subconscious mind.
Your subconscious can only think in “positives” – kind of like absolute values from math, so always write your goals in the positive. For example, a goal to “get out of debt” puts the idea of debt into your subconscious. Instead, phrase it in the positive: “I have more than enough money to meet my obligations and spread the wealth” and then you’ve planted the thought of abundance, which is much more productive!
3. Paint a Picture
Because of the power of imagination, instead of writing our goals out as a list of dry, factual, as if statements (BOR-ING), we want to create a vibrant and exciting word picture.
Include as much detail as possible, so that when you read it you can immediately put yourself right into the vision of your dream come true.
Engage your senses and emotions: write about what it looks like, sounds like, smells like, and feels like to have achieved your goal. Write about what a day in your life is like once you have made your dream come true.
One word of advice: please, please don’t get hung up on doing this exercise “perfectly.” There is no wrong way to do this, and if you do it and decide to change it later, that’s fine, too!
4. Read it regularly
By reading your word picture regularly, you are reinforcing the picture of your dream come true. By invoking the senses and emotions, you are actually creating or activating neural connections in your brain. The more frequently you affirm these connections, the stronger they get.
Some people I know even go so far as to record themselves reading their goal story so that they can listen to it every day. I don’t like my voice that much, so I prefer to read silently to myself and then close my eyes and spend a few minutes immersed in my picture. Find what works for you and do it regularly!
it’s worked for me!
Like I said, this all may sound a little woo-woo, but I’ll tell you a story about how it worked for me. When I was young, the thing I wanted most in the world was a horse. In ninth grade I met another horse crazy girl who cleaned stalls after school at a stable near my house in exchange for riding privileges and lessons.
Soon I, too, was mucking stalls and riding horses every day – a dream come true! Of course it wasn’t long before we wanted horses of our own that we could ride and show. One night we started writing stories about how getting our own horses.
We figured we would need jobs so we could start saving up, so we gave ourselves jobs at Baskin Robbins. That summer we got jobs at BR.
We figured that since all the stalls in the barn were occupied, a few of the horses would need to go. Yup, the exact horses we “wrote out” of the barn were soon moved by the owners!
Within six months of writing my story, I had a horse of my own.
I hope you will write your own dream story!
If you need some more guidance, please check out Write it Down, Make it Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. I’ve had this book for 15 years at least. I read it at least every other year, if not every year. I found it fascinating to read the science behind the “magic” I had experienced writing my own dream into existence.
Be sure to share your thoughts and successes in the comments!