A Funny Thing About Breast Exams


How much weight are you trying to lose again? Where and when do you plan on losing it?
When did you want to finish your book by? Where and when do you plan on knocking that out?

If you had a to-do list (you have a to-do list, right?) which goals do you think would be easier to take care of?

  • Call Dr. Smith at 707-555-1212 to set up a dental cleaning for any morning next week.


  • Need to get teeth cleaned.
  • Run 2 miles, then do 10 sets of stairs after work on Monday; Swim 1 mile at the gym Wednesday after work; Do the bootcamp class at the gym Friday at 630PM.


  • “Workout 3 times this week”.

Specificity reduces the chances we’ll try to get out of the obligation we made for ourselves. Write things down. Make them specific. Don’t give yourself a chance to choose otherwise.

A Breast Exam

In The Power of Full Engagement, a study is cited in which a group of women agree to do a breast self-exam during a period of 30 days. Those who said where and when they were going to do the exam did it 100% of the time. Those who didn’t specify where and when only did it 53% of the time.

That’s crazy.

You’d think something as important as a self-exam to test for cancer would be at the top of the list but it’s not that simple. You can’t trust your brain to choose correctly all the time. It needs guidance in any manner possible. Clarity is one of those manners.

The Bane of My Existence

I had something titled “Terms and Conditions” sitting on my to-do list for far too long (months). I knew what it meant and I knew I didn’t want to do it. I knew I had to review a set of “Terms and Conditions” for a contract, make my notes and get it to our lawyer. Awful. Who wants to do that? Not me. The only way I was able to get through that task was to break it down.

One day, it was, “Review paragraphs 1 and 2 of the terms and conditions first thing on Tuesday morning.” Ok, that I could handle! Before I knew, it I had the entire document done. The purposely vague goal of “Terms and Conditions” allowed my brain to side-step because it seemed too daunting.

Small. Specific. Goals. They work, and they keep you from hyperventilating about how much you have to get done too!

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