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Why You Should Write Down Goals and Then Throw Them Away

What do you want?

How would you like your future to be?

Most people I ask fail to give a clear answer to these 2 questions. At the same time, I have found a minority of people who do share their ideal vision of their future are happier, more optimistic, and are more fulfilled in life than those who don’t.

But we all want to feel happier, more optimistic, and fulfilled, don’t we? So how about spending some time designing your ideal future?

Think about what you would like your life to look like over the next 1- 5 years. I even recommend that you write down what you want in life. Don’t worry! I’ll be getting you to throw it away later. But there is something you should do before throwing away your goals and aspirations that will help you create a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled you… and it is backed up by research in the fields of Neurology, Psychoneuroimmunology, Quantum Physics, and Epigenetics…

So let’s start with step 1…

Write down on a sheet of scrap paper what you would like your life to look like over the next 5 years. To help you jog your imagination think of BUCKET LIST… and watch this TED talk by Travis Bell, the bucket list guy.

Buy that special something for yourself or someone else

Ultimate Challenges

Conquer a fear

Kind acts for others

Express yourself

Take lessons in something

Leave a legacy

Idiotic stuff

Satisfy a curiosity

Travel Adventures


Now spend a day or so coming up with this list. When you have come up with a decent list and before you throw this list out I want you to have a look at everything on this list. As you are looking at this list, get another piece of paper out and for each thing on your list, I want you to on this new sheet write down what emotions you will feel if you fulfilled that goal or bucket list item. THIS IS IMPORTANT!

Let’s say one of your goals was to run 10km non-stop. How would you feel if you achieved that?

You might feel proud, energetic, unstoppable, and self-confident. So write down those emotions on your new sheet.

How about getting over a medical condition? You would probably feel relief, jubilation, a real zest for life, and gratitude.

Repeat that for all of the various goals and aspirations that you have. You may find that you might write down certain emotions several times. That’s ok.

Once you have completed that you should have one list of goals and resolutions and bucket list items and another list of emotions.

Now is when you can throw out that list of all of your goals and aspirations. Go on and do it now!

So you are left with a list of emotions that you would feel if your life turned out exactly the way that you would like it to. I put it to you that those goals and bucket list ideas are not what you really want. You only wanted those things because you want to feel more of these emotions! This is what to focus on!

How to Use Your List Of Desired Emotions…this is the key to creating a happy, healthy, and fulfilling future.

Put this list in places where you can see it regularly…. in your diary, on a poster, on your phone, or on your computer screensaver.

Look at this list every day. Look at doing this exercise regularly. Many do it daily.

Find a quiet area without distractions.  Look at each written emotion and mentally rehearse feeling that emotion.  Spend a minute experiencing each emotion. Like any new skill that you rehearse, repetition is the key to effectiveness. The more you do it, the greater the benefit you will get out of it.

The Australia 2 Crew used mental rehearsal to help them win the America's Cup for the first time in 132 years!

The Australia 2 Crew used mental rehearsal to help them win the America’s Cup for the first time in 132 years!

If you do this, I can guarantee that your life will change for the better. Why?

You see, your brain doesn’t know the difference between something real and something imagined. By mentally rehearsing your desired emotions consistently you are creating the same neural connections in your brain that you would if your life turned out exactly the way that you wanted it to. Like any skill, the more you do this exercise, the more you build up your own neural memories of your desired future that you can draw on in your future. ( In fact, in a recent Netflix documentary “Untold: The Race of the Century”, John Bertrand, the skipper of America’s Cup-winning boat, Australia 2 revealed that twice a day, for 3 years, he and his crew listened to a pre-recorded cassette tape that helped them mentally rehearse what it FEELS like beating the USA to win the America’s Cup! So before they even raced the USA in the final, they already had 1000 “memories” of beating them.)

By rehearsing your desired emotions consistently you create memories of your ideal future to draw upon. This “wires” your brain to operate as if you are living your ideal life. For most of you, that means a huge reduction in stress hormones, a huge boost emotionally and not to mention the amazing self-healing changes that go along with it. In this better frame of mind, you begin to think and take action in ways congruent with the life that you desire. The more you practice this, the more it becomes a habit.

The Reticular Activating System is  the part of your brain that filters out a lot of information helping you to focus

The Reticular Activating System is the part of your brain that filters out a lot of information helping you to focus

The other cool thing that many people report when adopting this approach is that when you begin to feel so much better on the inside (because you have been rehearsing feeling better emotions ) life gets so much better. When you focus on experiencing your desired emotions, you experience them even more. This is because the Reticular Activating System (RAS) in your brain filters information around you causing your brain to be more primed to pick up on information and opportunities that relate to your desired emotions. You get what you focus on.

For things to change, YOU have got to change and this is HOW you can change. So don’t focus on your goals. Focus on what your goals would give you….your desired emotions.

Then watch your life change around you…






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