The third row down on my bookshelf is full of a collection of old journals in many different shapes and sizes. I’ve been writing down my thoughts for years. I fondly remember the summer of ’96 writing teenage poetry while burning incense and listening to Enya. I am glad I still own those journals because I return to them every so often for comic relief. My thoughts taken captive and written on the page mark a moment in time and offer a snapshot into my life. I put the pen to the page and named the dreams inside me.
Eventually I grew older and a bit more pragmatic. During the summer of 2005 I took a new approach to tracking my words. I made a list of goals and dreams, numbered them one to fifteen, and tucked them away in my wallet. Years passed before I came across them again, and an interesting thing happened when I saw the list. I realized that eight of the fifteen goals and dreams had already been accomplished even though the list was not in plain view!
The words I had written on paper had simultaneously been written on my heart. I purposed to accomplish what I declared, and that got me thinking. What could happen if I was intentional to move towards my goals and dreams? How quickly could my list be accomplished? Implementing these FIVE strategies has helped me to accomplish my goals and dreams with purpose and intention.
1. Keep it with You
This list still lives in my wallet, but now it also lives other places as well. I have it saved in a document on my computer as well as a list on my phone. We have a way of talking about the things we care for. This list helps to bring focus to the things that matter to me, and subsequently I end up sharing them with those around me.
2. Revisit Often
Every six months I make it a point to set aside a morning to read through old journals and revisit my list of goals and dreams. I make adjustments where needed and add more specific details that have come to light since the last time I evaluated my progress. This practice aids me in tracking growth and staying on course to accomplish my goal.
3. Tell a Friend
Spending time with a person does not ensure you know things that matter most to them or vice versa. Sharing the goals and dreams you are working to accomplish is a great way to open up new and interesting conversations. It can bring new life to a friendship, and it will help provide some accountability. If asked, they will most likely check in to hear of the milestones you’re working to achieve.
4. Celebrate Accomplished Goals
Whether the accomplished goal is small like finishing a month of Whole30, or big like paying off college loans, it is important to celebrate. Name the success and set aside time to congratulate yourself for staying the course. These celebrations will provide you something to look forward to. It’s also a great opportunity to invite the friends you’ve shared these goals with to join in on the celebration.
5. Keep Adding to the List
In 2015, ten years after I wrote the initial list, I added ten new goals and dreams to it. Now I revisit the list often. Each crossed off and completed goal has a new one added in its place. Making room to dream about the possibility of the future has added life and hope when my days feel mundane. Having a vision for the future helps to propel me into tomorrow with expectancy. My hope is that the same will be true for you.