Write out your goals
If you haven’t written out your goals, then you’re missing the most important part of effective goal setting. When you don’t write your goals, they stay in the abstract. They’re less real, even if you think they’re as real as they can be. You have to write them down and get very specific about them.
Writing out your goals is also the first step in the SMARTER goal setting method. If you want to stay focused on your goals, then you need to ensure you’re tackling them in the right way. This is also called active goal setting, which is the direct opposite of the passive goal setting that most people engage in.
Passive goal setting simply holds the goal in your mind. While the details might be sorted out somewhere in the confines of your thoughts, it’s still in the abstract because it’s never been written out and detailed on paper before you. If you engage in passive goal setting, it’s an easy way to lose focus on your goals.
If you’re serious about your goals, then you have to actively set them and detail them out. Use the SMARTER method, or simply create as much detail towards your prospective goals as you possibly can if you really want to achieve them.
Why Writing Down Goals Increases The Odds Of Achieving Them
Most people drive through life without bothering to write down their goals. Very few people have specific and measurable goals, and even fewer have written these goals down.
An even smaller amount has also thought of a specific plan to make these goals a reality.
But does writing down your goals really help, or is it just a myth? If it really helps, what’s the best goal-setting strategy?
Forbes reports a remarkable study about goal-setting carried out in the Harvard MBA Program.
Harvard’s graduate students were asked if they have set clear, written goals for their futures, as well as if they have made specific plans to transform their fantasies into realities.
The result of the study was only 3 percent of the students had written goals and plans to accomplish them, 13 percent had goals in their minds but haven’t written them anywhere and 84 percent had no goals at all.
Think for a moment which group you belong to.
After 10 years, the same group of students have interviewed again and the conclusion of the study was totally astonishing.
The 13 percent of the class who had goals, but did not write them down, earned twice the amount of the 84 percent who had no goals.
1. Figure out your goals.
If you are not sure, answering these questions will help:
– How much money do you want to make each month?
– How do you want your body to look?
– How will you make this money?
– Where do you want to live? How do you imagine your ideal house?
– What do you want to achieve in your relationships?
– Do you want to learn a new craft? and follow any specific career path?
– Do you want to start a new hobby or learn a new skill?
2. Write these goals down.
Now, take a moment and again read the questions above. Take a piece of paper and start writing down your answers, but don’t be afraid to write down impressive, huge goals. But, I would recommend using a paper. Personally, I have my goals written on a whiteboard that’s over my desk so I can see them every day, but I have also written my short-term goals in my phone.
If you can’t find a paper, you could write the answers in a note on your phone or laptop.
3. Make sure you write specific goals.
“I want to lose 20 pounds of fat,” is hugely different than, “I want to lose 20 pounds of fat in the next four months.”
The second is specific and gives you a deadline that will push you to take action.
4. Always put deadlines in your written goals.
For the reason pointed out above. Make sure these deadlines are somehow realistic. You can’t say you will gain 15 pounds of muscle in the next two weeks.
Put a deadline that is challenging enough to push you and motivate you to take action, without being extremely tough to achieve.
5. Under each written goal, write a specific three-step plan on how you will achieve this goal.
For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds of weight in four months, you could write:
– I will go to the gym and lift weights three times per week.
– I will eat 500 fewer calories each day.
– I will eat junk food and sweets only twice per week.
– I will drink fizzy drinks once per week.
– I will walk for 45 minutes every day.
Now you have a specific plan, or a roadmap that will lead you to your desired destination and achieving your goal.
This will ensure that you won’t do the circle of Europe before reaching Munich.
Have you written down your goals? If yes, what is your experience with setting up goals and making specific plans?
Let me know in the comments below.