The "Write" Plan
Most of the people that know me know that I am a list person. Our vacations, our house cleaning, our meal planning, and grocery shopping all go better for me if I have made a list. Being able to review the list to ensure that we are doing things efficiently, to see conflicts in our planning, or to just satisfy whatever the mental defect is that requires that I see the plan on paper are all reasons that I make them; however, it is my past success from using a written plan that validates my obsession with seeing them in black and white (or yellow on the occasion that I use a legal pad) .
Most of the things in our life start with some type of plan. Our homes, our cars, the computer, or phone that you are reading this on all started with a set of written instructions needed to assemble the various components. I am a firm believer in the benefits of writing things down. Early in my previous career, I spent my nights patrolling a small town in a police car. I kept a notebook. In the notebook, I had a list of nightly objectives. I wrote down every car tag in my area, every person that I contacted, and everything that I observed. This habit allowed me to solve crimes in my area and forced me to be more observant.
When gravity and age began to affect my physique, I began to write down everything that I ate. At the top of the page, I noted my calorie limits for the day. I would then list the food as I ate it to give me the running total that was used to guide my eating. The fact that I needed to record the food that I ate made me more selective in my meal frequency and selection. The possibility that someone would see, and critique a less than healthy food choice caused me to attempt to eat healthy foods when possible. To this day, I can journal my food and see quick reductions in my body weight.
My financial planning also seems to improve when I have a written plan and a monthly list. In every facet of my life there seems to be a correlation with seeing my goals on paper and my ability to achieve them. This blog entry was the result of such a list as my wife added “blog” to my list of things to do recently. Because it was on the list, I felt compelled to accomplish the task.
If you are saving for a down payment, getting a home ready to sell, or just trying to eat healthier than you did last week, try writing down your goal and the steps you need to get there. It is a great way to measure your progress as you check off the items on your “to do” list. I just checked this one off and it feels pretty good.