why writing it down works
I recently returned from a trip to Alaska where I visited Denali National Park, then boarded a cruise ship for 7 days of visiting several ports of call. Experiencing the wildlife and the incredible glaciers as well as interacting with fellow travelers were highlights of the trip. Because I wanted to focus on the travel experience and not be distracted by the internet, I did not take a computer on the trip. Of course it helped my resolve to know that much of the time, internet service was non-existent or spotty. However, I am a writer after all, so I took a notebook for recording thoughts and preparing for upcoming blogs. On the long flight home to Atlanta, I spent time writing. While waiting in line for the restroom on the plane, (quite a great place I found to meet other passengers), a man commented on how amazed he was to see anyone actually writing anything in this digital age. I got the impression that he was pretty astonished that I even owned a pen and paper much less knew how to use it.
Unfortunately, writing has become somewhat of a lost art and there is real cause for concern about that. One of the main reasons that we might be concerned about the dependence on computers rather than pen and paper for recording information has to do with the retention and application of what we write (or even type). Here are some good reasons to pick up that pen and paper rather than fire up the computer when you are thinking about goal setting:
Writing helps you clarify your thoughts: Assuming that you put your internal editor and critic to rest and write first a rough draft of your thoughts and intentions, writing can help you clarify and determine the direction that you want to go in. The more you write and explore different options and the consequences of those options, the more you can create the end result that you want. There is something tremendously empowering about marking through, restating and rewriting previous thoughts and materials. In addition, you can see what you edit out and always go back and add it back in if you wish.
Writing has fewer distraction: Who hasn’t been pulled away from an important task by the lure of Facebook or the ping of emails and text messages? Your notebook and pen will never provide the same dis-tractability. There is no sound but the scratch of the pen on the paper and nothing to draw you away from the naked pages that call you forward.
Writing down goals makes you more successful: Research has shown that just writing goals down is more likely to make them happen. When people not only write down their goals, but also share them with others and maintain accountability, they are 33% more likely to achieve their goals.
Writing stimulates the brain: Research also shows that writing stimulates the RAS or reticular activating system which then gives emphasis to the written goal. It then sends a signal to the cerebral cortex to pay attention to the goal which then orders the cortex to get to work on accomplishing the task at hand. Writing begins a natural effortless chain reaction of success.
Writing connects ideas to the brain: When we form letters, each of which are different, we send a specific message to the brain. With typing we are simply pressing keys all of which are the same, so the message is not as easily imprinted.
Convinced? I hope I have inspired you to pull out that journal or legal pad and start a new habit of regularly writing goals and recording your thoughts. Just putting pen to paper can make you more productive and successful.
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