This is a guest post from Jim, my friend and colleague at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.
A few months ago, my wife and some of her friends decided to start a book club. They recently held their second meeting, at which they discussed Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture. My wife and I both attended Carnegie Mellon University, where Professor Pausch taught. He was very well known even before his Last Lecture, and so my wife was looking forward to the book discussion.
Professor Pausch’s lesson in his Last Lecture is to always enthusiastically pursue your dreams, regardless of how out of reach they seem. Pausch was a man who achieved many of his childhood dreams by the time he died at age 47. It’s unfortunate he didn’t have more time.
After the book group meeting, my wife thought of some goals she’d written down for herself when she was in sixth grade. When she got home, she told me about her goals, how she had forgotten about them after all these years, and how they were still important to her. I asked if she still had the list. She found it and we looked them over. Then, I walked into the other room, put the piece of paper in a frame, and put her list of goals on the desk.
One of the best techniques you can use to achieve your goals is to write them down and constantly remind yourself of them. It’s the reason manufacturing floors have signs saying they’ve been incident free for X days. Of course they wish to remain incident free every day, but the sign acts as a reminder of their goal. Written goals work. Here are some real-life examples of how people use written goals to achieve their dreams:
- I post my goals on a whiteboard in my office where I see them while I work.
- I recommend that people with credit card debt write the balances on their cards as a reminder of their goals.
- Trent of The Simple Dollar keeps himself frugal by putting his credit cards in a sleeve with a picture of his children on it.
- Nickel wrote his goals on Five Cent Nickel and told the whole world about them.
Now my wife’s framed goals sit on her dresser. Every single day, she’ll see her list of goals, the ones she made in the sixth grade, and be reminded of them. I’ll see those goals, too. They’re our goals. And one day we’ll achieve them all.