On Monday morning our employer sets a piece of cheese at the end of the maze. When we get to work we spend the week trying to get the cheese and exit the maze. We repeat this pattern every week earning enough cheese to feed the mice at home and pay for our mouse hole.
We set goals so that we don’t have to show up to the maze at all, to start a side project, craft, hobby, increase our creativity, get out of debt, spend more time with family, read more books, exercise, eat right, and the list goes on.
But we are back in the maze before we know it trying to find the cheese and somewhere along the line we get lost. The only way to know if we are heading in the right direction towards accomplishing our goals is to track our progress. If we don’t we risk never achieving our goals and having to live with regret.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – Leonardo da Vinci
Our gadgets, phone, and computers have amazing tools for planning and tracking progress, but they can often become distractions and do not offer the simplicity of a pen and paper.
A year ago I made a goal to write on my blogs twice a week. I purchased a small cheap calendar that fit in my planner and wrote down each time I wrote and in the notes pages wrote the title and category for each post. An amazing thing happened. I was able to see how much I was actually writing and how consistent I was in reaching my goal.
Handwriting has three key advantages (Olson, 2016):
1. Handwriting increases our brain’s activity and can have the same affect as meditation. This type of brain activity unleashes creativity.
2. Hand writing sharpens the brain and helps us learn. Hand writing activates different regions of the brain than typing or using electronics does.
3. Handwriting forces us to slow down and allows the brain to rest. It’s near impossible to pick up your phone and record something in your calendar without surfing the web or getting on social media.
4. Handwriting can be more convenient. It’s easy to pull out a pen and paper and record information quickly. I can keep what I need in my purse or small bag. I can write things down quickly and move on. My phone tends to hold me up because I get distracted from what I am doing.
Why is setting goals and achieving them so hard? Because life is hard and so many things distract us from what we truly want to achieve. It often takes a major life event to wake us up to the reality that we aren’t where we want to be, but before that happens set some goals, outline a few steps towards achieving them, and pick up a pen and paper and write down every time you accomplish something.
This way you can look back at how you are doing and this can give you hope for change. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Tracking progress can lead the way.
We get one shot at life. Let’s make it a good one.
*My goals this week. Continue my blog posts, outline my business product, get my MBA homework done, get some of my books for sale on Amazon, clean the house, attend one after work meeting, make it through the week, read a chapter every other day, and find time to enjoy life. My calendar is going to be full. How about yours?