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Goal Setting:The Magic is in the List

By Nicky Vanvalkenburgh

When my first grader came from school, he showed me a piece of paper. It said, "My goal in 2005 is to learn to reed."

The boy needs to work on his spelling too!

Jokes aside, setting goals and writing them down on paper is a good practice. It increases our focus and awareness We're more likely to accomplish things when we write them down, and refer to our list during the day.

If you've ever read "personal achievement books, you've probably encountered some bizarre advice on goal setting.

Stuart Goldsmith, in his book "The Midas Method, suggests that we begin goal setting by making an invisible letter "g in the air with our finger. He also suggests that you recite your goals out loud, and end your session by "erasing the letter "g." Mr. Goldsmith inisists this technique is a signal to your subconscious that you are doing something important.

Another author, Brian Tracy, wrote a book called "Goals: How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible." Mr Tracy suggests writing out your goals as if they have already happened. For instance, if you have a bad habit of being late, your goal is "I am on time everywhere I go." That's right. Mr Tracy believes the use of present tense will cause you to think and act differently.

Mr Tracy also suggests that you mentally visualize an empty parking place when you go to Walmart. Mr Tracy believes that doing this sets in motion "the law of attraction, and will instantly give you a place to park.

After reading this type of advice, I realized that these issues were merely semantics. My family and I need to set goals. We don't need to go off the deep end, but we need a practical system for getting things done, and managing our time. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to write things down in a notebook or pad of paper.

At the beginning (or end) of each day, I make a list of all the things that I need to do. Later on, I might add or modify my list, as new things come to mind.

After making my list, I determine the most important thing that I need to do. What do I need to do first? If possible, I number your items in order of importance.

I use this method both for my personal, family, school and work-related agenda. When following this method, in one month I have accomplished as many as 100 items from my lists. This simple practice also helps me keep my wits as a mother, wife and freelance writer.

About The Author

Nicky Vanvalkenburgh writes about practical coping strategies for empowered living. Check out her website at


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