The One-Page Miracle

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In his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (1998), clinical neuroscientist and psychiatrist Daniel Amen says that “being goal-directed helps keep our behavior on track” (p. 134). His “One-Page Miracle” is a goal-setting exercise that he shares with his patients. Here’s how it works.

Take a sheet of paper and write down your primary goals. For example, Amen suggests four main headings: “Relationships, Work, Money, and Myself.” Under “Relationships,” Amen suggests the subheadings of spouse/partner, children, extended family, and friends. Under “Work,” he suggests the subheadings of current and future work goals. Under “Money,” he suggests the subheadings of current and future financial goals. Under “Myself,” he suggest the subheadings of body, mind, spirit, and interests.

Then, beside each subheading, write down what’s important to you in that area; what you want, or feel like you need. This process may take several days. Once finished, post this One-Page Miracle sheet where you can see it every day. Amen believes such goal-setting helps us stay focused on what’s important, and what’s not.

Amen’s exercise resonates well with the frustrations I see and hear in counseling. I often ask clients, “If your frustration (Anger!) implies you’re not getting something, then ‘What is it you want, or need?'” ‘ Answers often become the focus of  new and improved self-care.

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