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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Write Your Dreams into Existence

Morning time with my journal and my dog.

After a rough winter last year and a string of rejections (for both writing contests and to agents) that seemed to be going nowhere, I thought long and hard about the best way to shift my mindset. A few months ago, I heard a podcast episode about how to narrow the focus on your goals in order to best achieve them. I was intrigued.

Now, to be perfectly transparent, this podcast episode was pitching a product called the “Start Today Journal,” created by entrepreneur and motivational speaker Rachel Hollis. But as she explained in her podcast, this practice can be done with any old journal, and she outlined the steps that anyone can use to set their goals.

What a lot of us fail at is having too many goals at one time, which can lead to overwhelm, causing us to beat ourselves up time and again when we don’t achieve any of them. Hollis developed a practice that focuses on writing down ten goals over and over. And here’s the kicker—you write down those goals as if they have already happened.

This practice starts you out by doing an exercise where you envision what you want your life to be like in ten years, down from the kind of home you live in to what kinds of vacations you take. Then you envision what types of dreams you need to achieve in order to accomplish that type of lifestyle.

I’ve been journaling with this method for almost a month, and my goals are starting to become so ingrained in my mind that I do things to work toward them without even putting much thought into it. I start out each day by writing down five things I’m grateful for, and these vary depending on the day. Then I write down the same ten goals, in the exact same order, and at the end, I write which one I’m going to achieve first.

On these pages, I’ve written things like what my annual income is (again, as if this has already happened), how much money my podcast is generating per month, that my kids went to college debt free, etc. At the very end of the page you write down which goal you achieved first. This changed for me after the first week, when I thought realistically about what goal I have the most probability of achieving first. My podcast is still in development, for example, so it's not going to start generating income right out of the gate. So every day on that line, I write, “I’m an award-winning fiction and non-fiction writer.” I have a few pieces out at contests as we speak, so I’m trying to will a contest award into existence by writing down this faith in my writing every day.

Here’s what I’ve noticed. Writing down these same goals and achievements each and every keeps them front and center of my mind. I focus on planning and writing and working each day to ensure that I accomplish what I’ve set out to create.

Do you journal about your goals and dreams? Are there any specific practices you’ve tried recently? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and magazine editor whose young adult novel, Between, can be found on the digital platform, Wattpad. She’s hopeful it will garner some attention at the 2019 Watty Awards this year, and she may be writing a specific dream about this novel in her journal each day.


  1. Renee--I don't journal like that (or journal much at all, or keep up with the Butt-Kickers lately) but I love the idea. You know, like they said in the movie "Field of Dreams": If you build it, they will come.

    If you keep saying it and thinking about it and assuming it will come true, it WILL come true.

  2. I LOVE this idea, Renee! It's similar to affirmations, and the mind is powerful once something is drilled into our brains. :)

    I haven't been journaling about goals lately, but have been journaling as a way to deepen my understanding of my protagonist in my memoir. This wild, sad nineteen-year-old named Angela. It's funny though, I've been reading my old diaries from that time and I did something similar to Hollis's exercise. Write down goals like I will become a professional artist, and so on. I guess I knew something back then. And your right, it does work!

    Your dog (a dachshund?) is so cute and seems really chill. What a great writing buddy. :)

  3. This is really cool. And I love Rachel Hollis and obviously she is super successful! Thank you for sharing this. :)

  4. Sioux--Exactly, I'm trying hard to build this thing! It's kind of like tracking your food in a food journal will prevent you from putting that extra handful of chocolate chips in your mouth. Staying focused on what your goals are will keep you moving forward. Although, I haven't been as good about the food tracking in the past few months!

    Angela-- That is so cool that you are journaling to help understand your younger self. Isn't it funny how we can look back at ourselves now and think, "Wow, I was a completely different person." It would be an interesting exercise for me to do now as well. I love that you already willed some of your dreams into existence without even realizing what you were doing. Yes, that's our doxie, Ruby! She is something else. They are known to be a very lazy breed (she loves nothing better than a good nap) except when it comes to food. I swear that girl can hear the refrigerator door open from upstairs!

    Margo--The first time I heard her talk about this method on her podcast I was like, "Nah, this isn't for me. I don't like having to commit myself to writing out things every day like that." Now look at me now. Once I understood the psychology behind the method, it made sense and convinced me to give it a try.

  5. I've been enjoying Between, Renee. I came away from it for awhile to read The Kite Runner, but I'm looking forward to coming back. Your decision to post it on Wattpad seems consistent with your advice here; you're visualizing your novel as published and as having already won the award you want. It's got my vote!


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