CAREER DEVELOPMENT / SEP. 11, 2015
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5 Reasons Why Writing Down Goals Increases the Odds of Achieving Them

Everyone knows that setting goals is a habit of the rich, famous, and successful, but why is it that the people who take the time to write down their goals often end up achieving them? Goals aren’t just empty words on paper, they are serious calls to action to get out there and “carpe diem”.

See Also: 10 Habits of Highly Successful People [Infographic]

I would be willing to wager that, most of the people who have created massive success in their lives, have written down a goal or two throughout their lifetime. Goals give our days purpose, they motivate us to move forward, they help us measure our progress, and they help us to create concrete steps that we can take in order to make our dreams come true. If you aren’t already writing down what you want to do in the next five years, hopefully your opinion will change by the end of this article.

1. It Makes Them More Real

Taking the time to write down your goals makes them much more real in your mind and helps you visualize your actions. It is easy for a dream to turn back into a wish: some little idea that gets pushed to the back of your mind and labeled “Wouldn’t that be nice.”; wishes don’t usually come true, unless you are out there making them come true, and life isn’t some fantasy game where you can just reach out your hand and everything you want will come flying into it.

Writing your goals down, puts them in writing right in front of you, it gives you an image for your eyes to see and for your mind to register; writing down goals means that you must take the time to think through the process and actually say to yourself this is something I want, and not just something that “would be nice.”

As the saying goes, “Dreams don’t work unless you do”; so get to work!

2. It Increases Your Focus

Writing down your goals in front of you not only makes them more real, but it will greatly increase your focus. As your mind can now see a real image of your goals, it will be periodically drawn back to that image throughout your days. Having goals written down (especially somewhere that you can see them each day), is a constant reminder about what you are working towards in life.

Goals help you keep your eyes fixed on the end point, it helps motivate you when times are hard, and it helps you avoid distractions- like the everyday trials of life. Writing down your goals tells yourself that you mean business and that this goal is not just another wish, it is something that requires your attention and action to come true.

Goals give you a reason, a why, and a purpose, as each moment leads up to a better future.

3. It Helps You Iron Out the Details

As your goals suddenly stare back at you from the page where they have been written down, you will be faced with all of the logistics problems that you never thought of before. Questions like “How will I do this?”, “What comes next?”, or “What obstacles are in my way?”, will suddenly start to spring forth in your mind; as you start considering these problems and issues, your goals will really start to come to life.

No matter how badly you want something in life, until you really start making a plan and figuring out the logistics of how to make it happen, it is just an intangible idea. When you make a plan and start executing it, that’s when your goals start getting accomplished, as you are now forced to think about all the little details you need to take care of.

If you set a goal to do something within a year, it will force you to start figuring out which things need to happen next, what resources you need to gather, and how you will get it done step by step. See, ironing isn’t always a bad thing; it is only bad when you are ironing your work shirt for Monday morning!

4. It Ensures Your Goals are SMART

Smart goals are S- specific, M- measurable, A-attainable, R- relevant, and T- time bound. Taking the time to write down your goals forces you to consider these specific requirements of great goals. As you sit down, pull out your pen and paper, and start writing down everything you want to do in life, you have no choice but to consider these 5 categories of SMART goals.

Specific goals increase your focus, because they tell you exactly what you want and they tell you what is required. Measurable goals allow you gauge your progress over time and make adjustments to ensure that you eventually achieve your goals, measurable goals also mean that they are able to be measured as either being successful or a failure. Attainable goals ensure that you stay motivated to obtain something that is within your reach, because if you don’t believe it is attainable, you won’t ever try. Relevant goals ask you the question “Is this goal important in helping me achieve happiness and long term success?”; relevant goals contribute to a better future. Time-bound goals have a set date of completion increasing your motivation and calling you to action each day.

So, what are you waiting for? Write down SMART goals, and you will immediately become a smart person.

5. It Decreases Procrastination

Procrastination is a silent killer of dreams and goals all over the world. Ever stayed up all night cramming for an exam, or just generally killed yourself trying to get something done that you should have finished weeks ago? We all have, and as frustrating as the process can be, we often repeat this mistake over and over throughout our lives. Writing down your goals helps to limit procrastination and motivate us to get things done.

Goals give us a set date and time to have something done, and setting goals helps decrease that human tendency to put off what we should be doing today, for tomorrow. It is much harder to put something off when you have it written down on paper staring back at you every day. Procrastination is still a possibility, but writing down your goals will help ensure that you aren’t awake at 4 am, drinking your fifth cup of coffee, and still trying to get things done.

See Also: 6 Steps to Effective Goal Setting

Writing down your goals is a powerful habit that can aid in your success, your happiness, and ultimately getting all the things that you want out of life. People who take the time to write down goals are more successful, active, and more motivated to excel in life. So, pull out your pen and paper right now and write down your goals. Make sure your goals are SMART, make sure they motivate you, and make sure they are really want you want; by the time you are done writing them down you will have a better idea of what you want, how to get it, what obstacles are in your way, and what actions you need to take to get there.

Have you ever tried writing down goals of your own, and if not, what is currently stopping you? Know anyone that writes down their goals and gets tons of success from it? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

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