Transcript: Insane Benefits of Writing Down Your Goals – DS518

Doug: Hey, what’s going on? Welcome to the Doug show. My name’s Doug Cunnington. And today I’m going to talk about journaling. And this is, uh, it’s kind of a weird episode in that it’s sort of a, a squishy, feely, hippie kind of episode, but I think it’s an important one to do. And I’m going to try to give you some actionable tips, but.

It’s going to seem kind of woo woo. So keep that in mind, but stick with me. It’s going to be a short episode. I have some notes here. I’m not going to bullshit too much. I’m going to mention that I’ll recommend a couple products, super inexpensive, just the journals I like to use and why, but. You could use anything.

You could use a scrap of paper that you just taped together. Like, it really doesn’t matter how you do this. You can get cheap, free notebooks. You can go to the dollar store or whatever to do this. Keep in mind, I’m not actually a dedicated journaler. I have journaled some off and on since college, and sometimes it would be like weeks at a time, sometimes months at a time.

There was probably a stretch where I was very very consistent in sticking with it, probably, you know, four days, five days a week or something like that. But I’m not like, I have to wake up and do this journal and I have to do it in the morning and I have to do it in the evening. I just did it. However it worked for me.

And then I’ll stop. I have literally stopped for months, but. Behind me, there’s some bookshelves back there. And I realized I have maybe like 10 journals or so that I’ve kept over the last decade or so, maybe a little bit longer, but roughly in that timeframe. And there’s a lot of information in there.

Honestly, a lot of it is nonsense and it doesn’t really matter, but there’s a couple of key things in here to mention. Now, sometimes I journal where it’s just like a brain dump, and sometimes it’s like notes about what I did that day. Like I went on a road trip to Alaska, and I was there for a few weeks.

The trip was maybe like five weeks total. And I journaled every day because I thought I’m going to forget this stuff at the beginning by the time I finish the trip. And then years from now, I won’t remember anything except the highlights. Now, maybe it’s back there in my brain, but I don’t have any triggers to actually remember it well.

So I was like, I’m going to journal every day, even if it’s not a super thorough, like there’s going to be some ups and downs. And basically I just did whatever I was able to handle. And the thing that I want to focus on today for this episode is journaling, where you write down some goals or aspirations.

Again, this is getting into the sort of, you know, woo woo area of writing down and manifesting and I don’t believe in that kind of stuff but there’s something weird that happened and that’s in 2014 my wife and I did the exercise from the four hour work week called the dream line and essentially what you do is write down your dreams or aspirations and then you put a timeline around it you You can look it up over at the 4 Hour Workweek you know, book, or if you look for information, if you just go to Tim Ferriss blog, you should be able to find the Dreamline exercise.

But you define your dream, so what do you want to have, what do you want to be, what do you want to do. You set a timeframe and I’m pretty sure Tim recommends like six months for one set of goals and another one for one year. And that way it’s close enough where you’re like, you have to start taking action.

You also estimate the cost. And one of the key things is like people think, Oh, I want to. I want to do all this stuff, but it’s so expensive. I’ll never be able to do it. And Tim, for example, breaks down, like if someone wants to have a super expensive car and they’re like, they think they want it, they think they want a 300, 000 Lambo, you can actually rent that you could rent a car.

Or if you want to have a house in the mountains, you can rent a house in the mountains and test it out. You don’t actually have to own the car, which. Potentially could cost a lot of money and take you many years, or you could just like rent the car for the weekend and check it out and see if you actually like it and not have to deal with the insurance, not have to deal with the maintenance and all the other kind of shitty things that go along with, you know, the insurance.

Many of the things we aspire to achieve. So you calculate the cost, you calculate your target monthly income to be able to support your dreams and you create an action plan and you just kind of move forward. Now the thing is we essentially did the first portion of it, but then we, we didn’t really think about it.

We did this dream line in 2014 and then we kept a piece of paper, which is like back there behind me. And We never thought about it again, yet when I went back five or six years later, I was like, holy shit, we’ve achieved. All the good stuff now in the dreamlines some of them were throwaways Some of them were dumb ideas that I was like interested in at the time For example, I think my wife and I Were going to like Topgolf which is Not something i’m really interested in but we happen to be going to Topgolf for different events birthdays.

I think one just opened up Back in Atlanta in that timeframe. So I was like, I want to get better at driving and playing golf. Turns out I don’t give a fuck about golf, not going to play golf. And I never thought about it again, but some were good. Some of them were like grow my online business. Some of them were live in Colorado and we actually live in Colorado now.

One of them was to have a house with a mountain view, which we achieved in Montana, which is. In some ways is better than Colorado, depending on what you’re into. And technically, if you get on the very edge of our, our property here, you can see the mountain. So we still have a mountain view. And as soon as I walk outside, you see mountains we’re on the front range in Colorado here.

One of the other things was around hitting my professional and self employment goals. So all the good shit. We did, or at least on my side, I think my wife’s were a little bit fuzzier. So after, you know, a few years, again, we looked at the 2014 dream line and roughly 2017, 2018. So I was like, we should do another dream line now.

Cause we basically hit all the good stuff and we wrote, we wrote down other things. And again, some were throwaway. Some were good. My biggest goal was around having my wife retire and quit her job. She was super unhappy with her job at the time. And turns out she was unhappy with her, her next job. And, you know, work just like the, the work environment typically doesn’t work out for my wife, interesting enough.

My biggest goal, 2018, get my wife to retire and it took some time, but she just retired in March at age 46. Now there’s a whole other conversation around this and I’ll link up because on my other podcast, mile high FI, we interviewed my wife and basically I am more, I can deal with a more flexible budget and I’m an entrepreneur, so I think I could bring value to the world and earn money.

And she comes from a more corporate background and she was like, I want to have a bulletproof. Budget. I want to have a bulletproof retirement plan and essentially have everything taken care of. So even if many of our projections are far off, this plan is so robust that it will still work. And I just waited it out and eventually you reach that point again.

We never looked back at the dream line from 2018. It’s absolutely insane. The thing is, this is just one data point. And again, I’m not the kind of person who thinks like, if you write it down, you’ll manifest it. I mean, I worked hard. We did a lot of shit. We made some mistakes, but we also did a lot of things.

Right. One of the reasons why I did this episode is because I was hiking with my friend, Rachel Richards, and I’ve interviewed her, I think on this channel. So we could link up to that and she journals in the same way where she journals often, but she’s not rigorous or super consistent. And she has journals for a very long time, I think much longer than me.

And it basically echoes my experience. She wrote down goals. She achieved the goals without really thinking about it without referencing it again. And It’s pretty amazing. You could check out her stuff over at money honey Rachel on Instagram and I Can’t remember exactly but I’m pretty sure she hit millionaire status either when she was 30 or 31 and She stopped working a corporate gig in her late 20s or so and went into real estate But anyway, she’s achieved a huge amount in a short amount of time super smart.

Definitely worth a follow So here’s the thing. I recommend you write out your goals in journal if you’re overwhelmed. This is a great exercise So if you’re overwhelmed Journal with the idea of dumping all your thoughts and stress on paper It’s literally a brain dump. It’s ridiculously effective. So if you’re overwhelmed, if you do this, it kind of forces of the ideas out of your head on paper.

And I do recommend paper. I know you can journal with typing or voice memo, but I highly recommend writing it down. And even if you’re going to throw away the piece of paper, or if you write it on a piece of paper, take a picture or what, and you could throw it away, whatever, but. And once it’s out of your head, you’ll stop sort of ruminating on the whole thing.

Don’t make this complicated. All right. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Bullet journals are fun. And I’ve gone down rabbit holes where I watch. People set up their bullet journals on YouTube or really elaborate blog posts, but just keep it simple. You can use some of the pieces that work.

Actually, I have some of the general ideas for a bullet journal in my notebooks, but just keep with what works for you. I don’t follow through with all the other stuff that you’re supposed to do. So just know that is only for you. No one else is going to look at it. And this is where the people that set up the very beautiful bullet journals make you feel bad and make you not on purpose, but basically you’re like, all right, I want to set this bullet journal up just right.

And then you mess it up. You have to like take out pages. And the thing is, it’s just for you. No, one’s going to look at it. So it can look like. Kind of shitty, really. You could put notes all over it. You could scribble, do whatever you want. In fact, there’s a YouTuber who’s a photographer Daniel Milner and he does Some very, uh, unique journaling in that he just treats it like a journal slash scrapbook slash whatever he wants.

So one thing he would do is just like get pictures from, you know, photos that he’s taken, or even like cut stuff out from a notebook or a, like a magazine or whatever, and just paste it in. And I’ve actually taken like two. Beer labels off bottles and then put them in my journal. I’ve taken business cards from, you know, say like a restaurant that I liked and then pasted it in my journal too, just as a little thing, a little scrapbook.

Right. So it’s just fun. So I. Literally bought a glue stick and we’ll glue it in there and it’s kind of cool to just have like a little scrapbook So I treat it as a to do list, a scrapbook, a journal, whatever I want. Again, it’s just for me I do highly recommend a journal with page numbers and if you don’t have one Don’t have page numbers in there, write it in.

I actually will just write them in. The reason why you want page numbers is so that you can keep an index in the front and you don’t have to make it complicated. It’s just like a table of contents. But what you’re able to do, if you have like a journaling section or something like that, or maybe I have a to do list for a lot of it, and then I’m going to I’m like, Oh, you know what?

I have an idea for a YouTube video and I want to sketch out my ideas there. I can put a little title on there and go to the front, put the page number and say YouTube idea on journaling. And I know I can go and get my notes there. So basically you can find the shit that you write down. If you don’t have that, then it’s hard to find anything.

You can imagine if you have like 10 journals behind you and you’ve been doing this for a little while and you’re like, Oh, I want to find this idea. I had a brain dump or I had this, uh, Just general idea and I wrote it down, but I don’t know how to find it now. So the index is critical. You can also put references throughout the book.

So let’s say I actually write out a brain dump situation. So there’s a bunch of random stuff on there and there’s one of the ideas that I’m like, oh, I want to expand on that. So I can go write that somewhere else in the notebook and I’ll skip around, right? There might be, I might skip like 20 blank pages and go somewhere else and go to page 50.

And you could just write like, Hey, on page 50, that’s where I expanded on this. And then on page 50, I can say, Hey, this is from brain dump too. And this is. Over on page 20, and then you could reference each of those in the index. So you could find the stuff and basically create jumping points links essentially to different points in the book and Then you could find the shit that you’re looking for.

You could even do this across books, right? So I’ve I’ve done that Started to put like masking tape on journals and, you know, and the one that I’m using right now, I actually started this in 2017 and then started using another journal for a little while. I have no idea why. And then there’s a little bit from 2019 and I needed a new journal and I was like, Hey, I kind of like this soft cover orange one.

And I think I picked this one up from Walmart several years ago. And I was like, I want to use this one. And there it’s about one third full. So there’s plenty of blank pages in here, but I just needed to skip around a little bit. Cause it’s, um, sort of randomly written in. So it’s, it’s a huge mess. It’s a huge mess, but I went and wrote page numbers in here so I could find the shit that I’m looking for.

So you could do the same thing again. It’s just for me. No one else is going to look at this. It doesn’t matter what kind of notebook you use. Again, I got this one from Walmart and I really like it and it was definitely under 10 and I mean, I could use this for a year. And it would be totally fine. I will give you a couple options.

So there’s a relatively cheap one. I think it’s under 10 bucks or so over on Amazon. It is a numbered, it has thick paper, so it shouldn’t bleed through for most pens. And then there’s a premium option, which is kind of the, the classic bullet journal style, and it’s, I think you say it, like, Term 1917, and those are more expensive.

They’re about twice the price, but it’s a little bit more premium. And these are the nice ones. I personally don’t care if there’s lines or dots. I think they’re nice. I typically will get, uh, either dots or blank. I don’t care if there’s lines on there. And I kind of prefer just, I mean, I write all over the place.

Like I said, this is just for me. The lines are just a guideline and I fucking write all over the place anyway. So dots work really well. And a lot of times if you get the blank with, um, no lines, no dots, you end up with like thicker paper. Not always, but. But it’s more like sketch paper. You could also use like, um, the ones I’m thinking of are the moleskin.

So moleskin are very good too. Typically don’t have numbers unless you get one to two. is specifically made with numbers. So just be mindful of that. Again, you can always write the page numbers in there, but highly recommend that you can also write with whatever you want. Of course, pencil, you can use a ballpoint pen.

You could use a crayon. Piece of charcoal, whatever you want. I don’t really care. I typically like to get things that are not too fancy, that I can get anywhere, and it doesn’t matter too much. I just want them to work well. So I typically have a shitload of Pilot G2 pens, either the 07, like the dot seven, or the finer dot seven.

Uh, 0. 5. And the thing is, I love the way they write. You could buy them very cheap. If you go to like a big box store, you can go to like Sam’s or Costco, or if you order them from Amazon, I’ll put links for this too, and I usually get the black, um, cause I like, I like writing in black and these will bleed a little bit more.

So I have. Um, switched, not switched, but I have picked up some just Bic Velocity, uh, pens, which are not going to bleed through as much. And I have those around too.

So typically the pilot G2s for journaling, they write very smoothly and it really liked the way they feel they’re cheap. And you can get them anywhere. So if I’m traveling and I’m in some remote place, I can walk into a Walmart or a drug store or whatever, and they’re probably going to have these G2s. I will link to these as well.

The other thing is I like colors. So I have various colors and you could buy these. As well, like the multi pack with different colors. So blue and aqua and well, there’s green and pink, all sorts of colors. You can get again, relatively inexpensive. Even if you go to, uh, just like a, a drug store, like a Walgreens or CVS, they’re not going to be super expensive to be a little bit more than if you get them at Amazon or a big box store, but I’ll link that up overall.

I will say, keep it simple, keep it easy and do whatever works for you. Definitely check out the couple links at Amazon. They are. So I get a commission if you do purchase anything. And again, they’re relatively inexpensive. If you have any questions or thoughts or anything, shoot me an email feedback at Doug dot show, highly recommend writing out your goals.

Even if you don’t look back at it, there’s some connection, I think, in your brain when you write it down physically. And if you are the person who does like affirmations and you do want to, you At that affirmation every day. So it’s like front of mind. I assume that’s quite effective, even if there’s not anything magic going on, which I don’t think there’s anything magic going on.

It’s front of mind. So you start seeing opportunities in front of you that maybe you wouldn’t notice before because you weren’t thinking about that goal. That you’re affirming each day. Again, I don’t, I don’t think there’s anything woo going on, but there’s some connection in your brain. If you have any experience with this, please let me know.

We’d love to share, uh, you know, your story, not necessarily for like an interview or anything, but just like, Hey, I wrote out my goals. Things kind of worked out or the opposite, right? If it hasn’t worked out, I’d be interested to hear those too. Have a great day. We’ll catch you on the next episode.