Last week I highlighted the fact that we can make a new start any day of the year but for many of us the New Year IS THEE new starting point. Advertisements, programmes and even our inner voices flag up the need for some sort of re birthing, calling us to make it different this year, to make it better, to succeed and make it happen; create a new you, new body, new wardrobe, new career, new beginnings, new life, but the thing is the ‘old you’ comes along for the ride so old habits don’t just suddenly cease to be when the world and it’s wives start to belt out Ould Lang Sang. The first gulp of newness can be short-lived especially if you have high expectations with an ‘I want it now’ mentality to morphosise into something amazing over night. We all know change and improvement does not happen that way and it’s more like a slow gradual step-by-step focus that in time develops into a new habit or a life change.
Writing down your dreams and aspirations can help. Penning your goals on paper can prompt a part of your brain, known as the reticular activating system (RAS), to become alert to something that is important to you. The RAS sends the urgent stuff to the active part of your brain, and sends the non urgent to the subconscious. The keenest, most familiar example of the reticular activating system at work is when you are in the middle of conversation in a packed room and suddenly, someone speaks your name. That one word cuts through the sea of sound and your ears immediately perk up. You turn your head toward the speaker, a prime example of your monitoring mechanism, your reticular activating system, at work. You have just tuned in to something specific and useful to you. Although you may think you are giving your conversational companion undivided attention, the fact is your attention is fragmented and subconsciously taking in the mass of noise around you, sorting, sorting, sorting, even as you speak.
The RAS is like a filtering system of the brain. Writing it down sets up the filter. Things start to appear—it’s a matter of your filtering system. If you have never owned a purple Beetle before, and you buy a purple Beetle, all of a sudden you see them everywhere. You might wonder where they all appeared from but they were there all along; you were just not paying attention to them.
Putting a goal in writing is like buying a purple Beetle; it sets up a filter that helps you be aware of certain things in your surroundings. Once you write down a goal, your brain will be working overtime to see you get it, and will alert you to the signs and signals that, like the purple Beetles, were there all along. Often a goal, once written, will materialize without any further effort on your part. But it doesn’t hurt to “prime the pump.” The more attractive you make whatever you goal, and the more you approach it in a spirit of fun, the more synchronicity will play along to make your dream a reality. When you show your earnestness and intention by writing it down, something opens up. The word gets out. “Priming the pump” creates a kind of Jungian synchronicity, a convergence of meaningful events. Write it down to be clear in your commitment to its possibility, and then activity here will create related movement there. So if you have a burning ambition or goal for this year, get writing. Write it down to make it happen.
© Aileen McGee