Setting goals in the way I described in Part 1 enables you to:
1. Gain clarity about what it is that you want
2. Begin to focus your attention and energy in that direction
3. Set yourself a big vision for the year - one that will pull you forward and motivate you.
During the act of writing down your goals, a part of your brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) is triggered which determines what you will notice and what you will pay attention to.
Think for a minute about all the stimuli that are constantly bombarding your brain via your senses. How does your brain know what it needs to pay attention to and what it can ignore? This is where the RAS comes into play - it gives you a 'heads-up' and tells you to pay attention to something that could be important for you. You know how, when you make a decision to buy a specific make and model of car, all of a sudden, the roads seem full of that particular make and model? They are everywhere you look? Of course, these cars haven't just appeared on the road - they were always there, but because, previously, they held no particular interest for you, your brain just screened them out. Now that you have a particular interest in this type of vehicle, your RAS has been activated and your awareness of them is heightened.
Another example of the RAS in action is when you are at a noisy, busy party with lots of people chattering all around you and music playing on the stereo, and then someone, across the other side of the room says your name and you hear them, despite and through all the other background noise that is going on.
The RAS works as a filter for your conscious and unconscious mind, sorting and evaluating incoming data and filtering out the urgent and important stuff from that which is unimportant.
By writing down your goals, the RAS is triggered - it receives the message: 'Wake up. This is important stuff. Pay attention and don't miss it'. Your brain can then go to work on your goal, alerting you to the appropriate signs, signals and opportunities and helping you get what you want. As Henriette Anne Klauser, author of 'Write it down, Make it happen' says: 'Writing down your dreams and aspirations is like hanging up a sign that says 'Open for Business'.