Who writes down their goals in this busy day and age?
Almost all of the personal development guru and many accomplished people will say that they write down their goals. A study of successful people shows that many of them strongly urge us to do just that. In fact, this is so commonly known and written about that a Google search about this produced over 1 million results! And yet, most of us simply don’t do it.
Try thinking of it like a map to your life’s destination. Now, sometimes it’s fun to just get in the car and drive without a map. But successful and happy people tell us that creating specific goals and direction is much more likely to produce the life that we want. We can create the map of our life to get where we want to go. All it takes is your time, energy and commitment to do that!
Look around you. Look at your life. Are you living the life you’ve planned or has it just happened?
Two years ago I was pretty miserable. When I look back at the goals I wrote down during that time, I am gratified to see that I have accomplished many of them to get to this life I now love!
Live by Design, Not by Default
We can control our own destiny. This can be a cliché or it can be your mantra, your belief. You make that decision. Many people think that life just happens. The truth is that it does “just” happen when we LET IT just happen. We either live “because of” life or BY CAUSING our life. We live by default or we live by design.
You can cause what happens in your life by being intentional. Writing down your goals is one of the best ways to become intentional. To make this point a bit more clear, here are some of my favorite synonyms for intentional: calculated, conscious, intended, planned, deliberate. Writing down your goals helps you live the life you intend to live.
So, why don’t more of us write down our goals? Sometimes, we may go through a phase where we write them down, accomplish what we want and then think we don’t need to do it anymore.
Or worse, we write down our goals, GIVE UP before we accomplish them, and then give up on the whole process. Have you ever done that?
A lack of persistence is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to success. The world is filled with people who tried and failed. We have a choice in the face of failure – give up or go up. John Maxwell wrote an entire book about this called “Failing Forward” because he saw so many people use failure as a reason to give up instead using their failure to learn and grow. Every successful person failed on their way to success! One of the biggest differences between success and failure is being PERSISTENCE in the face of failure. They got up instead of gave up.
So, why write down your goals?
- Writing down your goals can help you stay persistent by keeping that vision front and center. You will have setbacks. Keeping the top of the mountain in your mind while you climb can help you pass milestones and difficulties more easily.
- Writing down your goals can help you clarify what you really want. Putting them down in black and white makes them very clear and easier to edit and tweak.
- Writing down your goals can help you stay focused when distractions arise. And they do arise!
- Writing down your goals can help you know when to celebrate your success! It feels great when you can look at your goals and see that you accomplished what you set out to do!
- Writing down your goals can help you set new goals. It’s easier to keep up momentum and go for the next big hairy audacious idea when you gain confidence from seeing that you can accomplish those goals you set for yourself!
So, what would happen if YOU wrote down your goals? What would happen if you took the time to sit down, to think about what you want and then to create some actual action steps to get you there??
When creating your goals, make sure they are SMART. That means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Sensitive. We have a tendency to be vague – I want to make more money, I want to procrastinate less were some of the goals we covered when I did a recent workshop. We worked on them to make them clearer. So, procrastinate less became I will use a to-do list regularly and make sure that I use it to get my tasks done. I will check in with an accountability partner weekly to make sure I stay on target. Now we had a clear path to the new goal of getting tasks done regularly.
I urge you to take some time this weekend to write down your goals.
If possible, really do write them, not just type them. A New York Times article called What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades states “many studies have shown that writing by hand makes a bigger impression on the brain does using a computer.” They cite a study in which kids that used handwriting were more creative. It is frequently been proved that people who handwrite their notes in class retain the information much more than people who took their notes with a computer.
What could be more important to you than really understanding your goals??