Eighteen years ago – I attended a Motivational Seminar, where the keynote speaker challenged us to go home and make a list of 101 goals. At that time in my life, I was a stay-at-home mom with young children and feeling rather lost in my life. However, wanting to make a change, I took my “homework” to heart and sat down that night to create my list.
One of the goals, number 9, was “Visit Israel – Climb Mt. Masada with my sons”. At that time, I was the heaviest weight I had ever been in my life and just climbing the stairs was a challenge. And, my two sons were only 3 years old and 19 months. To say my goal – to climb a 1300-foot mountain in Israel – was a lofty goal, is not an exaggeration. However, after attending the seminar I was convinced that sometimes we have to have goals that are larger than life, so we continue to stretch and grow.
Last month, my boys went on a trip to Israel and they both climbed Masada. In the pre-dawn hours, they hiked up the mountain, and watched the sun rise. They said it was an incredible and beautiful experience. My youngest son, David, texted me a photograph of the dawn breaking over the Dead Sea (pictured above), so I could share in the moment. My eldest son, Joshua, texted me this self-portrait to confirm he’d made it to the top.
While I was not physically there with my sons when they reached the top of Masada, I did feel I was there in spirit. As a consequence, I got to share in this awesome experience. Most importantly, I knew that I had been instrumental in the accomplishment of this goal. By writing down that goal, eighteen years ago, I had a hand in making it happen.
The very moment I put that goal in writing, the universe began to conspire towards fulfilling that goal. First, by writing it down, I realized that was a goal that was important to me. Next, for the past 18 years, I began looking for any opportunity that could make this happen. A few years ago, I learned about a program called Birthright. This not-for-profit educational organization sponsors free ten-day heritage trips to Israel for Jewish young adults, aged 18-26. Since the founding of the program in 1999, Birthright has sent over 600,000 young people from 60 countries to Israel. Coincidentally, the program was launched in the exact same year I set my goal. Interesting huh?
One of the highlights of the Birthright tour is a trip to Masada, which is more than just a mountain in Israel. Masada is one of the Jewish people’s greatest symbols. Next to visiting Jerusalem, it is the most popular destination of Jewish tourists visiting Israel.
To understand the significance of Masada, you have to know a little about it’s history. In 74 CE, a group of Jewish rebels, fighting the Roman army after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, made history by ending their own lives rather than being taken alive by their enemy. This little group of Jews held off the Romans for several months – while the Roman soldiers below built an enormous ramp up the side of the fortress, with the intent of driving a battering ram through the fortress gates. When the Romans finally made it inside, they discovered that almost one thousand men, women and children had committed suicide. Two women and several children survived the mass suicide and lived to tell the story. Today, Masada has become a symbol of valor, courage, and conviction among modern-day Jews.
When I think who I was eighteen years ago, I realize now that I was looking for a way to incorporate the qualities of valor, courage, and conviction, into my life. I wanted to raise my boys to become men that would set lofty goals and be capable of achieving them. As a result of setting that goal I believe I was a better parent – as it gave me the vision to raise my boys to be the kind of people that would never be afraid to climb to the top of any mountain and hold their ground.
Achieving this goal, and several others on my list, validates my belief that the written word has power. When we write down exactly what we actually want to achieve we transfer our thoughts from wishes to goals. It’s as if the act of committing an idea to paper, gives that idea a life of it’s own. Which in turn allows for all sorts of unique “coincidences” to fall into place to make a dream come true.
So, I challenge you to make your own a list of 101 goals. Do it today. Grab your journal and create a numbered list from 101 to 1. And then, just begin writing down anything (and I really do mean anything) that comes to mind. It might be: go on a cruise, fly a plane, write a bestselling book, win an award, or sing the national anthem at a baseball game. By the way, those are just a few of the goals I put on my list, and several of them have already happened.
I am going to warn you up front that it’s very hard writing down 101 goals. You’ll find that the first 50 are fairly easy, but then you will start to struggle. Don’t give up, because this is where the magic happens. As you struggle to complete the list, you’ll to have to dig deep within yourself to uncover what it is you REALLY want in life. “Climbing Masada With My Sons” was goal number 9. Before I did the exercise, I had no idea it was one of my goals. But once I saw it on the page, I owned it immediately.
Once you’ve completed your list, simply put it away. From time to time, dig it out and review your list. Don’t be too surprised when you discover a bunch of them had already been completed. It seems that by simply writing them down, you set those goals in motion. After 18 years, I recently took at my list. I was amazed to discover I have now accomplished over 50% of my goals. However, the sweetest one by far, occurred last month when my boys climbed Masada.