Yesterday my apartment door flung open. There, in the doorway, stood my partner, struggling to fit a large mirror through the turquoise doorway and into our small, cluttered kitchen — which leads to our equally small and cluttered apartment. Now, just to paint a picture, I’m talking, I-couldn’t-offer-to-help-because-both-of-us-can’t-fit-in-the-kitchen-at-the-same-time small. I watched, silently amused, as he waddled it in and placed it against the wall by his desk.
“Sooooo, what’s going on?” I asked, with a smirk. There is literally no spare space in our little shoebox.
“It’s my motivation mirror!” He answered grinning, as he pulled out a pack of multicolored Post It notes from his pocket and tossed them on the desk.
The idea, as he relayed it to me, is that he will write down his goals, (daily, weely, etc.) some of his insecurities or area’s in his life he feels he needs to work on, and what motivates him. Each goal, insecurity, or motivator will get it’s own note and all of them will be plastered across the mirror.
This is, of course, not a new concept, right? I’ve heard the idea before in passing. But what is it really all about? Why write things down and hang them on your mirror? Why not, instead, run through a list in your head every morning or just jot them down in your tried and true notebook?
Accountability is certainly a big part of it. Everyday you look yourself square in the eye, surrounded by the realities of your life. Seeing it on paper like that is a way of getting real with yourself. Because when you wrote those things down, you knew exactly what you wanted and how you could get it. Today, and every day after, is all about making choices that are in line with that thing you want. And how can you see that person in the mirror staring back at you, wanting for better, and just leave them hanging?
Another, perhaps less poetic, reason for writing your goals down and hanging them in plain sight, is about programming your mind. Words dictate our reality. If we say, or in this case read, something enough, it begins to take shape. Simply thinking something tickles the right brain, the imagination center. But thinking something and then writing it down, that taps into your left brain which is more logic based — the problem solver. So now your brain is working to see opportunities in real time rather than just letting your dreams be dreams, floating in the clouds of your mind.
And finally, it creates focus. There’s no denying it… we all lead busy lives. Things come up, and the timing is never perfect. But progress is certainly possible if you focus your mind on a goal and resist spreading yourself too thin. The Post Its are like personal street signs for you to follow.
So whether you want to set a fitness goal, a career goal, an academic one, or otherwise…write it down. Set a plan. If you want to write a book, on one post it write, “Write a book.” On another, write something you can achieve this week. Ie: “Write ten pages.” When you’ve written ten pages, pull off that Post It, celebrate yourself, and write another one, and another one, and another one… In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ’Until one fine morning…”