Don’t Just Think It; Ink It

I read an article recently about how important it is for us to write down our life goals, because that way they become more concrete. Once we have created permanence by seeing the goals visually, we will be less likely to just blow them off, or forget about them entirely.

I have always been the type of person to write “To Do” lists for myself when I know I have things I need to accomplish on my day off. These lists help me feel like I’ve truly accomplished my goals. I even make shopping lists for when I go out, so I don’t forget anything. So why did it never occur to me to write down my goals for life?

There was a fascinating study conducted at Harvard in 1979. This study asked graduate students in the MBA program if they had “set clear, written goals for their futures and made plans to accomplish them.” The result: only 3% had actually written goals for themselves that included specific plans. 13% had goals, but they weren’t in writing. A whopping 84% had no goals for themselves at all. Ten years later, the same group was interviewed again and the result was absolutely staggering.

The 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down was earning twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined! While this study only looks at earnings to measure success, I still find it to be an extremely fascinating example of why creating clear and measurable goals…and writing them down… may be the key to success (Retrieved from Forbes Women Magazine; April 2014, Feinsteine, 2015).

What does writing down goals help to accomplish?

1. It will force you to determine exactly what you want to achieve.
Having a specific plan helps generate specific actions. If your goals are too vague, you may not know where to start or where you eventually want to end up.

2. It will help you to overcome resistance.
Do you often make plans, and then break them because you just don’t feel like going, or forget the plans you made entirely? Writing down your goals makes them much more concrete, and therefore you will be more likely to accomplish them.

3. It will motivate you to take action.
Writing your goals down is only the beginning. Having a specific plan of action will help to keep you motivated and achieve specific goals.

4. It will provide a filter for other opportunities.
The more successful you become, the more opportunities will arise. This might sound great; however, these new opportunities can quickly become distractions that pull you off course. Keeping yourself on track is vital to success.

5. It will enable you to see—and celebrate—your progress.
Life can be really hard when you aren’t seeing any progress. At times it might feel like you are working yourself to death, but going nowhere. This is the number one reason why written goals are so important. These goals are like mile-markers on a highway. They enable you to see not only how far you have come, but also how far you still need to go. Once you achieve your small goals, make sure to celebrate each one of them so you focus on the progress you are making every step of the way.

If you feel like you aren’t seeing enough progress in your life and are struggling to establish goals, you may benefit by speaking with a trained mental health counselor who can assist you with the process. She can provide the support you need to be successful in your journey to self-improvement. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment.


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