Watch this video for a very interesting proposal on better goal setting and achievement by Patti Dobrolowski.
She challenges participants to draw out what they do not like about the status quo of their lives and how they imagine a more ideal future. In drawing a picture, the participant documents these factors – the “before” starting point and the “after” desired. This action is important because the visualization will bring back accountability in every future moment when it is looked at. And the visual is simple; with a quick glance, the ideas and related emotions will come to mind.
The drawing is used as a long-term tool to induce certain feelings in the person whenever it is looked at. But then what? Personally, I find that documenting my thoughts and goals, has been very beneficial. In Dobrolowki’s model, the negative images portrayed for the status quo nag the mind to bring about change. On the other hand, the ideal visualization of the future generates positive feelings and hopes, which is an important part of the journey to get there. The nagging feeling in itself is not a great motivator or productivity inducer. But seeing the two pictures side by side makes the distance between them imaginable and conceivable. Take that road step by step. I actually showed this video to a friend and she expressed some concern that the push these initiatives induce, could make the user take some drastic steps and even lose the good stuff they already have in their lives. Maybe there is room in the model to incorporate the positive aspects of status quo and carry them over and even build on them for future ambitions. There must be something good to hold on to in everyone’s present I hope, whether it is within us or in the environment surrounding us.
I want to highlight three points that stood out for me and my experience from freshly completing this exercise.
A solitary fantasy can transform a million realities. – Maya Angelou
Dobrolowski starts off her talk with this quote and it is right on the mark with her Draw Your Future proposal. The validity here is that it does all start with the mind. Everything is conceived in a mind before it is created in reality. That is the first step. The second key takeaway point for me was that, “research shows, the odds against you making a change in your life” –
That is a pretty sad probability. As a person who is trying very hard to build a life of positives, I have to focus on the 1 as a re-affirmation. What I want to do is not impossible! And this probability is not from factors outside of our control. The ratio shows how many people come up with the strength to win against the odds. It can be up to us what side of this ratio we land on.
The last point I want to highlight is her explanation of a factor that makes her strategy work: “Your brain actually emits serotonin and oxytocin when you draw and dream. So you feel happy. Capable. Creative.” Who wouldn’t want to feel that? Without getting too scientific about it, serotonin and oxytocin do affect mood positively and they can also be attained by exercise or a detailed daydream so whenever you need a boost, you can also try that.
As an experiment, I did implement this exercise for myself. Nothing on that piece of paper came as a surprise. I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do but the visual (without the stress of artistic display as I sometimes struggle with) was more compelling than just ideas in my head or a written manifesto, which I also tried several years ago on the recommendation of a friend. The visual is compelling because it is a quick reminder and each stroke of the drawing reflects our emotions on the details we are capturing. I am a person of words (unsurprisingly) so I would support this quick reminder artwork with a strategic manifesto, which better reminds me what I want to be and how I plan to get there.
Interestingly, right after I finished the drawing, I went to the kitchen feeling very hungry. And I ate an orange instead of a cookie, which a good choice that I have failed to make for several months of bad eating now. So, I can say for sure, that right after completing the exercise, I did feel an impact. I wanted to get to that person who had been smiling back at me from the page, relishing everything that I really wanted.
So, what do you think of this goal setting and productivity strategy? Do you agree or disagree? Have you discovered any strategy that has done wonders for you? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.