The Power of Writing it Down

You’ve heard it said before. “If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it.”

Completely, 100% true. If I don’t write down a grocery list, I forget it. Right now it’s on my phone and I share it with my teenager so he can add things he needs, but it is concrete. It has substance. It isn’t a thought in my brain that can be flattened by a bigger thought, such as “OMG – that’s a big accident. Better go around.” Or even a smaller thought – “Gotta pick up the kid for dance.”

Anything can happen to that helpless little thought. The worst – It will be forgotten and it was actually something important you needed to remember.

I also keep a list of things I want to buy for my house. Eventually. This curbs my shopping. I really don’t need those $200 shoes. I should save the money for that sectional couch I want in the living room. Besides – I can’t wear those shoes because they are heels and I’d fall flat on my face.

I keep a planner. It’s a planner that I have tested over the past year and I found a format that works for me. I have a section called “Brain Dump”, where I can write down any great idea that comes to me. And some not so great ones.

Here is a great quote by Greg Reid: “A dream written down with a date becomes a goalA goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”

Even the great Mr. Reid knew the power of writing something down. Of making it concrete.

Post-it notes were invented so people could write stuff down so they wouldn’t forget it. How many times have you written “BUY MILK” on a post-it note, then stuck it to your steering wheel or your door to the garage? We write down appointments. We take notes during meetings.

Studies have shown that actually handwriting spelling words helps elementary aged kids do better at spelling tests. I’ve seen it happen. I would make my son practice writing down his spelling words – 3 times every day. One, it got him practicing his handwriting, which he hated to do. Still does. His teachers were amazed at how well he did, and mentioned it during a conference. I told them he practiced them every day. It’s muscle memory. He writes the word and says the word as he’s writing it, committing it to memory.

Writing down a simple note creates a muscle memory in our brains. It is a concrete, tangible reminder of something. Later, we will discuss how this can help you with your New Year’s resolution.


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