The Power of Writing Down Your Goals

by Murali Murthy
Best-Selling Author, Motivational Speaker, Transformational Coach

Visit: Murali’s Success Den

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” – Zig Ziglar

In 1953, a graduating class at Yale University was polled and it was found that 3% of the graduates had set clearly defined written goals. Twenty years later, in 1973, when researchers went back and visited the class of ’53, they found that the 3% of the graduates with written goals had amassed a net worth that was greater than the other 97% combined. This is a powerful indication that goal setting is critical for success.

You have surely seen similar statistics that connect the act of setting goals to success in one’s personal as well as professional life. I’m sure if you were asked what your goals are, you could quickly list a few wishes without thinking too long.

Sadly, most people don’t bother to write down their goals. Instead, they drift through life aimlessly, wondering why their life lacks purpose and significance. The secret to accomplishing what matters most to you is committing your goals in writing.

However, what most people do not realize is that the power of achieving dreams lies in writing the same wish list down on paper. Committing goals to paper and reviewing them regularly gives you a 95% higher chance of achieving your desired outcomes. Studies have also found that by retirement, only four per cent of people in the world will have enough accumulated wealth to maintain their income level, and quality of life. As a new Canadian, it is essential that you develop a long-term plan for your success now.

What you can Absorb and Comprehend:

A goal that is not in writing is merely a wish and a fantasy. And without written goals, life will be like a boat without a rudder, with no sense of direction. Writing down your goals is one of the most important things you should do to achieve whatever you want in life.

They bring clarity and focus.

The human mind is capable of processing over 60,000 thoughts a day. And thoughts can get easily forgotten and lost when the daily grind of life gets in the way. By writing your goals down on paper, you are clarifying what is most important to you.

They keep you on the right track.

When you feel lost, stressed or helpless and may consider making hasty decisions, written goals keep you on track. And by writing down your goals you not only reaffirm them but may also find new insights that bring more clarity and focus.

They help you develop a clear sense of direction.

In life, your written goals serve as a GPS so you always know where you are and where you are headed. On the other hand, imagine setting out on a trip with no particular destination in mind. You would just end up driving aimlessly and ending up somewhere you never intended to go.

They motivate you to take action.

By writing down your goals, thoughts become crystallized and you stay focused. Once you have articulated your intention, written goals force you to take action and execute your goals, each time you look at them.

They help you see the bigger picture.

Once you list your goals and create manageable small steps, it shows commitment to yourself, that you intend to achieve your goals. It makes you accountable and you feel good with the progress, as you tick off the achievements on the to-do-list.

How you can Excel:

  1. The right way to write down your goals.

If you’re going to be successful at anything you must have written goals and a strategy to get what you want. Write your goals down, actionably and accurately. Choose an achievable time frame to accomplish your goals as well as measurable details so you know exactly when you’ve achieved them.

  1. Build a road map to reach your destination.

Your goals need to be complete and focused, much like a road map. Make sure the goal you are working for is something you really want, not just something that sounds good. When setting goals it is very important to remember that your goals must be consistent with your values.

  1. Develop goals in the key areas of life.

Your goals should ideally cover primary areas of your life like your family, career or business, health, finances, and your social life. Setting goals in each area of life will ensure a more balanced life as you progress in a planned manner in all areas.

  1. Write your goal in the positive instead of the negative.

Bring into existence that which you want, don’t wish for what you don’t want. And so write down only that which you want to come to fruition. One of the reasons why we write down our goals is to create a set of instructions for our subconscious mind to carry out. The more positive instructions you give your mind, the more positive results you will get. 

  1. Review and adjust the map periodically.

As mentioned earlier, writing down your goals creates the roadmap to your success. It is also extremely important to review your goals frequently so you can course correct them as you move on.

In summary:

  • Determine your WHY and the HOW becomes easy.
  • Create a vision for your life and write your goals down.
  • Make sure your goals are clearly defined and specific.
  • Make them measurable.
  • Put your goals up where you can see them every day (i.e., washroom mirror).
  • Create an action plan and follow-up on the strategy for achieving your goals.

If you follow this process everyday you will be on your way to be amongst the most successful people on this planet.

Free Resources:

Here are 3 popular free apps that you can download to help you set down goals.