Pen to Paper: 3 ways writing longhand turns goals into reality

When I make a plan, it starts by putting pen to paper.

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When I make a plan, it starts by putting pen to paper. It wasn’t a process that came naturally to me, but it gets results.

In 2015, I decided to start working with a new coach. We had a number of discussions leading up to my first session, but none of those conversations described the actual tools we would be using in the coaching workshops. 

When I arrived, I realized we would be using pencil and paper.  I remember thinking how much easier it would be to just use a laptop or an iPad. I tried to remain open minded though, and saw it through.

I remember being surprised at how much pencil lead I put to paper that day.

Ninety days later at the next workshop, something amazing happened. 














I reviewed my work from the first session and realized about 80% of the plans I had written had manifested into reality in the past three months. I hadn’t even really reviewed the material and what I wrote down since that first workshop.

This was an eye opener for me.

I continued through the coaching process, and began to find the process of writing longhand somewhat therapeutic.

Here are some benefits I have found in the old school process of using pen and paper. 

Thought Flow and Clarity

I find the process of writing down my thoughts to be self-fueling, meaning the more I write, the easier the flow of thought. Writing by hand unclutters my mind and allows creativity to flow more naturally.

I begin to see things I couldn’t otherwise see, and express them in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise expressed. The act of writing brings clarity to issues, ideas, desires, my purpose, and the vision I have for my life.

Each time I go through the process, the clarity increases and so does my level of confidence.

Stickiness and Results

What gets written by pen sticks, and in more ways than the literal sense. The ideas that stick to the paper somehow seem to also stick in my mind. I believe it’s my subconscious at work, and it is a powerful thing. Science backs me up on this.

Dr. Gail Matthews is a psychology professor at Dominican University of California. She studies goal setting. In her research she evaluated 167 people from all over the world and found that respondents were 42% more likely to achieve their goals if they wrote them down.














This is what I experienced. I could write a complete 90-day plan, including priorities, tasks, opportunities and dozens of relationships to focus on for that quarter, and file it away. When I pull the plan out in 90 days, I swear 80% or more of that plan would be “magically” completed.

Dr. Matthews explains that there is a scientific reason for the “magic.” Our right brain is the imaginative side, and the left brain is the practical side. If you remember high school biology, you’ll remember that the two hemispheres are connected by a bundle of neurons called the corpus callosum. Thinking about your plans and goals uses the right hemisphere. When you do the work to write them down longhand, you are using your left brain. The simple act of writing down your goals takes them across the corpus callosum, from “imagined” to the “practical.”

These days I keep my plan in sight daily, and the results I get are simply amazing. Most of what I write longhand manifests into reality.  

Resolve and Rewards

 As I look back on the words I put on paper with my pen, I feel a sense of resolve to follow through on the thoughts and ideas flowing through me.

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The completion of the planning process brings me peace of mind, and the potential rewards within the plan bring me excitement.

Spending the time to actually write out the future I want and the plan I will use to achieve it brings me confidence. It’s exciting because I know that the plan I build with a pen will absolutely become my reality.

My results have made me a firm believer in the effectiveness of a 90-day plan, and the magic that happens when that plan is made with a pen.

Seeing where you want to be is one thing, accurately assessing where you are today is another. A good plan will help you see both, and provide clarity on the gap between the two.

The subconscious power of writing the plan by hand can propel you through the gaps almost without you realizing it, until you look back on what you wrote.

If you want great results in your life and you haven’t built a plan to support these, grab a pen and some paper and let the thoughts flow until you begin to see the future.

Happy writing.

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