I want to share something special with you.
This is an idea – an exercise – that has helped me accomplish dreams; not just one or two.
I do not know its originator but this exercise has been going around for decades, and for good reason. When we integrate thoughts with physical action we create neural pathways that are deeper and stronger than pathways created by thoughts alone. Consciously using your body as an extension to your thoughts helps create new reality. In this exercise, the physical action following thought is as simple as putting pen to paper.
This activity is fun to do simultaneously with a friend or in a group. Doing it with others helps ensure that you do it till the end. Let’s go.
1.) Take a hundred pieces of 3”x 3” paper and write on each piece of paper one goal or dream or wish or want. (Open home business, learn decoupage, plan weekly family meetings, join ballet class, paint the living room, switch careers, run for governor, sing back-up on music disc, hire cleaning lady, go scuba diving…) Don’t over-think this and don’t be intimidated by the task of writing: Enjoy the opportunity to witness your dreams dancing on paper!
You will not be sharing this with anyone, so no need to edit or judge or feel embarrassed at all. And you don’t need a practical reason for writing, say, Fly to the moon. If a thought such as this enters your brain, that is good enough reason to let it flow right through your pen.
Even things seemingly “little” such as floss teeth daily, change sheets weekly, check oil monthly deserve place on your list if that is what comes. Honor everything.
2.) Divide your hundred papers into four piles as follows:
a.) Now (more or less what you wish to accomplish in the present.)
b.) Later (what you wish to accomplish in a few years from now.)
c.) Way Later (maybe ten to fifteen years from now…)
d.) Pipe Dreams (you may never admit that you are the owner of these dreams, but there they are on the piece of paper in front of you; your own handiwork.)
3.) Take the Now pile; the dreams, goals, wishes, and wants that you desire to accomplish now in the present – and choose five from that. These five are the very most important to you at this time. You may be working on some of these already. You don’t want to leave the world without accomplishing these babies.
These five comprise a new pile: Top Priority.
Congratulations! You are now equipped with your life’s plan.
Any goal fulfilled is the result of a series of steps taken through to the end. Some goals require the completion of a few steps; some require the completion of a few hundred steps – or a few thousand – but there is no goal so lofty or complex that cannot be broken down or simplified into a series of doable steps.
And if ever the very first step seems insurmountable, break it down some more.
Thirteen years ago I found this in my Top Priority Pile: Write a book. I said to myself: Oh no, I can’t write a book. But I could write a page and sometimes two. That’s what I did for the next five years until I completed and submitted my manuscript titled Copycat, published in 2009.
Often, at least some Top Priority goals are ongoing and can never be fully realized. We may always be striving for greater connection and intimacy with our spouse; always seeking to be better parents; continually moving towards higher and more meaningful spirituality. You can have an additional wish-pile reserved specifically for such goals as a means to remind yourself how valuable they are. It is ironic but true how forgetful we are of that which is most significant in our lives.
I keep my dreams in a beautiful flower-textured envelope (originally white, now faded-cream) where I may consider my list at will. When one dream is realized I replace it with the next one on my list. Each time I feel a thrill. I remove, replace, re-dream as often as I like, going at my own pace – no matter how slow that pace may be.
Step by step we move forward, drop by drop we fill our own cups until we’re simply spilling over. Let the goodness flow all year round!
This post first appeared in May, 2017.