You hear it from successful people all the time: Think big. Have a vision.
Every day, people around the world write down vision statements for their lives, their health and their businesses.
The problem is… no matter how excited the process of crafting a vision statement feels, these same people quickly forget all about their plans. Before they know it, life is back to the same old routines and even the most ramped up visionaries feel like they’re spinning their wheels all over again.
Why this happens is clear:
Despite their best intentions, very qualified people fail to translate the moving parts of a vision statement into something scientists call “procedural memory.”
Why People Forget to Implement Their Dreams?
One major reason we all default to the same-old patterns we’re used to is not just because they’re comfortable to us. It’s because of a force called the primacy effect.
The human brain remembers things that we encounter first so much better than other things. That’s why when we come up with a new idea and strategies for implementation, we can “forget” to implement. The previous routines are simply stronger than the new visionary ideas.
The good news is that it’s not a genetic issue. It’s not a flaw in your personality. It’s a law of memory based on a set of cognitive biases. And like all laws, it can be broken.
I know this is factually true for a few reasons:
- I’ve personally benefited from correctly remembering my vision
- I’ve gathered hundreds of success stories from others
- Mountains of scientific data explain why what you’re about to discover works very well
Let’s get started.
How to Create the Perfect Vision Statement You Won’t Forget to Implement
The first aspect we need to consider is how exactly you can make it possible to hit the ground running – and keep running.
To do this, your vision must be created within the realm of your competence.
For example, many people will create a vision of becoming a multi-millionaire. There is nothing wrong with this vision as such. But if you haven’t yet learned how to generate ten dollars from a business, you’re much more likely to succeed by creating a vision based on making your first profit margins within a reasonable range.
In addition to choosing a reasonable range, you want to place the vision within your specific skill set. If you’re currently not a sales professional, but excel at hiring and managing great staff, then you will be much better served by a vision statement that focuses on developing your existing talents.
An alternative might be that your vision statement helps you narrow in on developing the skills you need. If you needed to take a course on sales skills, for example, that would be a great outcome to create a vision around. Then, you can make another vision statement after that.
Finally, once your vision statement is based on a practical and achievable outcome, it’s best to break it down into milestones. That way, you can focus on individual steps along the journey.
And this is where procedural memory comes in.
Translating Your Vision Statement Into Easy To Remember Actions
When I first created a vision statement, I made the mistakes I just helped you avoid. Not only was my initial vision statement outside of my skill set, it was actually directed at achieving someone else’s dream, not my own.
To make sure I was in alignment with what I was working towards, I wrote my vision statement out for 90-days.
Along the way, I realized within two weeks that I was completely deceiving myself. No wonder everything I tried to accomplish felt so hard!
But when I shifted the vision statement to reflect what I really wanted, all the necessary steps came clear.
Now, James clear has cited 66 days as the “magic number” for habit formation. This differs from the 90-days Richard Wiseman reports based on research reported in his book, 59 Seconds: Think a Little Change a Lot.
From a memory science perspective, the real point is to make sure that your brain experiences the necessary chemical changes. And since implementing any vision worth your time and attention is almost certainly going to take more than 90-days, I say settle in for life.
Memorizing and Mind Mapping
In 2020, I created a massive course on brain exercises. It took a very long time.
To remind myself of the goal and continually fuel my vision for the people I wanted to help, I placed a mind map on my desk where I would see the vision every working day:
No, my office doesn’t look pretty, and mind maps can look sloppy to everyone but their creators. But what matters is that I made it a “procedure” to see my vision each and every day until the project got done.
Each step of the mind map included a number of “to-do” lists.
To help myself remember these steps so I didn’t have to constantly look at the to-do lists, I used a special tool called a Memory Palace.
These are fun and easy to use. Basically, you turn any room into an imaginary place. Then, you place different objects in different areas to remind you of what needs to be done.
For example, imagine that on day 15 of a project you need to:
- Write a script for a video
- Hire a graphic artist for a thumbnail
- Set up the course area
- Email potential affiliates
In a Memory Palace, you would place four associations, one per task.
Associations are “triggers” that remind you of things to do. And many people use them to get more done precisely because they could remember to focus on them. Even famous mentalist Derren Brown talks about memorizing his to-do lists in his book, Tricks of the Mind.
And now you know the secret. Here’s a detailed description of how placing these associations works.
To memorize the example list of action-items I mentioned, my associations were placed in a Memory Palace based on a living room.
- The YouTube logo to remember to script a video
- A Picasso painting to remember to hire an artist
- An online course on a laptop to remember course setup tasks
- A business professional sending an email to remember the affiliate outreach campaign
How exactly these images are placed is imaginative and fun. If you have a hard time with imagining something like a piece of art in a corner, try this exercise first:
Look at a room where you’ve had a party with friends over. Then imagine that one of your friends is standing in the corner. That’s exactly how you want to place associations in a Memory Palace. The only difference is that you don’t have to be in the room to do it.
The next step is to simple call your to-do list Memory Palace to mind and think about those associations. And if you don’t feel motivated, it should just take a glance at the mind map of your vision on your desk to revamp your excitement.
Long Term Practice as a Visionary Creates Epic Progression
I don’t know about you, but I’m more than a little absent-minded. Plus, I have chronic pain issues and battle clinical depression.
But none of these issues has stopped me from realizing my own personal vision. I just used the tips you’ve learned today to make sure what I’m doing is actually realizable and doesn’t get forgotten. Instead, it becomes a deeply remembered procedure.
And rest assured, 90-days of practice was a small price to pay. I’ve developed a skill I’ve been practicing now for many years, and hope to continue using even beyond retirement.
So what do you say? Are you ready to create a new vision statement for yourself and stop forgetting exactly what needs to be done in order to remember it?