The Importance of Being Specific

by | Core Journaling | 3 comments

I should’ve been more specific about the goats.

Let me explain.

When the movie The Secret came out, it was all the rage. I happened to be in the middle of facilitating an Artist’s Way group when I heard about the movie version. Not one to miss a trend, I agreed to watch it on DVD with my friend Kerry as a supplement to our Artist Way activities.

The movie was terrible but the take-away message made sense: visualize what you want, believe it can happen, and the Universe will deliver.

Inspired, I decided to make a dream board. I dusted off an old bulletin board and hung it on the wall. On my desk was a little picture of two goats, a scrap left over from my Alternate Lives exercise. I’m a big fan of goats, as you may know. So on my empty, newborn dream wall, I placed my little goat picture in the middle, secured with a ladybug thumbtack. Got that, Universe?

And then I went for a walk.

A block from my house, I nearly tripped over a box on the sidewalk. “FREE!” was scrawled on the box flap and I bent down, curious to see what treasures lay inside. What did I find? Two little goats, about four inches high. When I was able to stop laughing enough to regain my composure, I pocketed the goats – a gift from the Universe. I brought them home and placed them on my desk.

Then I wrote BE MORE SPECIFIC across the top of my dream board.

Let’s Get Visual

Personal Development gurus and Business Goal Setting Consultants have long known that the more specific a goal is, the more likely you are to accomplish it.

When you are able to clearly articulate what exactly you want, your subconscious gets excited and the Universe rises to the occasion. Sometimes it brings a sense of humor (“You didn’t say you wanted big goats!”).

When you get really specific, you tend to get really excited. One of my older, less inspired Wishlists has a vintage VW bus as item #8. My new Wishlist demands a fully-restored, split-window camper van with a chrome roof rack and a sunroof, painted in two-tone turquoise and white. Which van do you think is easier to visualize and work for? Which image is more motivating?

Our journals are the perfect place to get really specific. Next time you find yourself starting a sentence with “I wish…” or “I want…” get out your journal and run with it. Dig deep. Spell out all the glorious details. Be specific. Be visual. Write it all down.

You may feel a tingle of guilt — are you allowed? Do you deserve it? Yes and yes! It can be hard at first to ask for what you want. You’ll get better at it. Soon the guilt will subside and you’ll be left with a tingle of excitement. The kind that motivates you and inspires the Universe to take action.


  1. Katie

    This topic is really interesting… I think perhaps it might help me with some current projects that don’t seem to be going anywhere. All I’m focusing on is the mess they are now rather than what I want them to be…

    The movie You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay (okay, odd title but…) talks about the Law of Attraction in a much better way than The Secret. For starters, it isn’t focused on material goods. It’s very inspirational and a good pick me up. There are lots of great teachers interviewed and their extended interviews in the two DVD set are fantastic as well. I watch it a few times a year when I need a spiritual boost.

  2. Jan Olmstead

    Your prompt, “What would that look like?” helped me find concrete ways I could start working toward goals I’ve had that seemed too far away. I listed each dream or hope and then asked myself the question for every one. It was very enlightening. Thanks for the idea and encouragement!

  3. Kristin

    Katie – that movie sounds interesting. I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks for the tip!

    Jan – my work here is done. 😉 I love hearing that my prompts get people journaling. That’s why I’m here! Keep it up.