If I want to achieve something, and if I don’t write it down, then it hardly ever gets done.

One of the few things I’m good at it is saving money. At the beginning of each work year, I write down what I want to save for the year. And every month, I write down what I actually invested on the same sheet of paper. And yeah… it’s paper. It’s easy to see that way. I used to keep it taped to the closet wall so I’d see it every time I put on a clean shirt.

When recovering from cancer last year, I threw myself into rehab. I wrote down some goals, but then found it really frustrating because I had to keep rewriting them. Too many uncontrollable variables kept coming up. I had bone cancer, similar to what Terry Fox initially had. And chunks of three ribs and some of my spine (as much as they dared take) was removed because the tumour was growing into the spinal area. Not fun.

Once I got on top of the rehab, some of those uncontrollable variables started to fall in line. I started to run again. I started to do light exercises in the gym. And eventually, I was able to do push-ups and pull-ups again.

A few months before the cancer surgery, I won a fairly big running race in Singapore.

One year later (and about five months after my surgery) I did the same race again and finished 43rd. I was ecstatic.

I made a plan to train hard and try to finish in the top 5 for the 2011 edition. The race is in April, and there’s still plenty of time. But I didn’t write down a plan.

Running 4-5 days a week (sometimes hard, sometimes easy) wasn’t going to be enough. In the past four months, I haven’t improved one bit. And I need to get faster if I want to finish in the top 5, come April.

I’m telling you about it for motivation. It’s going to force me to realize that somebody might be watching. So I’m writing down a plan of running workouts with Rocky Balboa-like focus. I’d love to finish in the top 5 of this year’s race. I’m nowhere near ready, but I hope to be.

Making a public goal worked a few months ago when I took on the TRX 40/40 challenge.

I failed. And I posted the failure on my blog with a defiant claim to eventually finish it. And about a month ago, I did just that, on my second attempt.

What about you?

Interested in setting a goal you want to achieve, financial or otherwise? Make it public, set a timeline for it. Knowing that somebody else is watching will hold you more accountable. Good Luck! I'm rooting for you.