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The Power of a List: Organizing Your Life for Success

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By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

It’s that time of year again when we are making our New Year Resolutions, so I thought it would be helpful to share some simple, straightforward and extremely powerful strategies that help me achieve my goals. If, while reading this article, you start thinking, “I know this stuff” or “I’ve heard this all before,” take a moment to ask yourself if you are truly applying these concepts to your daily life. Setting goals and working to achieve them helps build confidence and a positive self image. It also helps you live life to the fullest.

When I identify a goal that I would like to achieve, I ask myself very specific questions to get clear about the actions that are necessary to attain my desired outcome. The quality of the questions we ask ourselves ultimately determines the quality of the answer our brain delivers, and this answer is what drives our behavior. Therefore, it is important that you ask yourself strong, good quality questions that will help reveal positive outcomes. Stay clear of poor quality questions that are doomed to elicit negative answers.

Examples of negative, poor quality questions might be: “Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why do I always do stupid things?” When you are in this mindset, your brain is likely to respond with equally negative answers, such as “Because you’re stupid,” or “You’re undereducated” or “You lack hands-on or business experience.” These types of questions and answers only serve to reinforce negative attitudes, which won’t get you closer to any of your goals.

A positive, good quality question is clear, specific and focused, as well as empowering, honest and objective. For example: “What resources are currently available that will allow me to grow my practice, analyze and communicate my findings, deliver the highest quality hands-on care, and educate my clients about the importance of getting regular massage?”

For our questions and answers to be effective we must clearly identify our goals and then list the tasks that are necessary to complete these goals. Next we must organize these tasks into a plan of action. Finally, we must occasionally reassess and review our plan to determine if we are on the right track. Below is my “Power List,” which consists of actions and goal-oriented questions. Whenever I want to achieve a new goal, I turn to my Power List to get started.

David’s Power List and Goal-Setting Questions:


Visualize It…

What do I want and why do I want it? What is the ultimate goal or outcome?

Close your eyes and see it, feel it, taste it, smell it, hear it and say it.

Plan It…

When must this be completed? What is the deadline?

Writing project goals and target dates on calendars helps plan strategy.

Model It…

Who has the experience, resources and track record for me to model?

Find a mentor. Invest in your education and client education resources.


Write It…

What are the individual actions necessary to achieve the goal?

Write it down as you break it down. List every step necessary to achieve this task.


Do It…

What can I do now to move this goal toward completion?

Take immediate action. Daily progress builds momentum.

Enjoy It…

How can this be a fun and enjoyable process?

Making the experience a pleasurable one improves productivity.

Support, Balance and Nurture It…

Am I eating healthy, sleeping and exercising to properly support myself?

You will need the energy and a clear mind to take action. Get massage regularly!

Refine It…

Am I on course to achieve the target? How can I improve the process?

Review your goals and the results of your action plan frequently.

Start with the first steps on the Power List, and ask yourself what you want out of your life and your practice. Some of your goals may include producing better results with your clients; integrating more clinical work into the spa portion of your practice; assessing and educating your clients with simple visual aids so they commit to a series of treatments; or establishing new referral sources while maintaining current ones.

Now ask yourself why you want to achieve these goals. What would achieving these goals provide and fulfill in your life? Your reasons may range from growing your practice to giving you more knowledge, experience, skills and confidence to produce better results to planning quality time with loved ones, family and friends. The key here is to make sure your targeted questions elicit focused answers.

As you work your way down the Power List, you will eventually need to determine what it will take to achieve your goals. Perhaps it will require you to take a uniquely special seminar or buy a program that heightens your level of knowledge and skill set. Maybe it will require you to implement specific office management systems through the use of professional forms.

Keep in mind that one of the most important tasks on the Power List is to write down your goals and your plan of action. Writing things down frees your mind by allowing you to empty your thoughts on paper so that you can stop the constant loop from running in your head. Additionally maintaining lists keeps you focused on the task at hand.

In closing, I’d like to reference one of my favorite motivational speakers, Tony Robbins. In his seminars, Robbins talks about the danger of focusing on the past or what is called the “Looking Behind” or “Rear View Mirror Syndrome.” It is impossible to move forward when our attention is focused on our failures, poor decisions or other negative experiences in our lives.

Remember: We learn something from every experience. It’s the perception or belief that we have about the experience and the actions we take that ultimately determine the final outcome. Instead of focusing on the negative, ask yourself what you learned from the situation. Generally, our past failures are often simply the result of using the wrong strategy or taking the wrong actions. Additionally, dwelling on the past by playing old negative tapes in your head will cause you to think, hear, say and feel in a negative way. And it will be those negative feelings and emotions that drive your actions.

So do you think now would be a good time to start making your Power List? Get started immediately! Cut out this article and put it in a place where you will see it every day. Share these ideas with your family, friends and colleagues. Build a team and find a mentor. Don’t put off your dreams and goals any longer. Your life is waiting!

Please let me know about your positive changes and any new ideas you used to achieve them.

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