by Josh Carlyle
Why is it important to write down your goals? It may sound like a cliché but there’s some truth behind writing down your goals and accomplishing them. In fact, you’re 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down on a regular basis.
It has to do with how our brains work. When you write things down, you’re activating both parts of your brain, the imaginative right hemisphere, and the logic-based left hemisphere. This is well-known in the business community among CEOs who use this technique to stay on track with their countless responsibilities.
Goals help us become better versions of ourselves. But perhaps you never got into the habit of writing down your goals. The same is true for most people. Fewer than 20 percent of people reported that they describe their goals in written form.
As humans, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than having to imagine things, based on a recent study by the 3M Company. Writing down your goals means that you can visually see them. This is an important point because when we see something, it affects how we act. You’re more likely to be productive if you can see what you have to do, instead of just thinking about it.
Here are 5 reasons that will reveal the power of written goals:
Reason to write down your goals #1: Boost your motivation
This is the most important reason why writing down your goals actually works. You can use goals to motivate your actions. Try to use goals to create habits because habits drive performance. You cannot be in control of everything but goals help you control at least some of it, enough to achieve results.
Think back for a moment, how much time have you spent on thinking about doing something? Is it the same as acting on it? Well, it’s not. You need concrete goals to increase your motivation to take action. When you have written down your goals, it creates a sense of urgency to move closer to achieving them.
Reason to write down your goals #2: Improve your focus
When you’re focused on what you’re doing, you’re directing your energy toward your goals and you achieve better results. It’s easier to set other things aside when you know what you should focus on. Written goals help you have a clear focus and stay on track. When your goals are clearly defined, it’s also easier to eliminate distractions.
Reason to write down your goals #3: Reduce your stress level
Moving your goals from your head to a written form reduces stress. While it doesn’t eliminate the actual stressor, it removes the burden of keeping everything inside. When you have your goals written down, you can have better control over your emotional reactions. After accomplishing your goal, you feel more at peace with yourself.
Reason to write down your goals #4: Achieve bigger goals
Our goals can sometimes feel overwhelming. A good technique is to break them down into smaller parts. Many of us overestimate our abilities when it comes to defining a timeline. Try to make your timeline more realistic and break your bigger goals down into parts. This is where writing things down comes in handy. Make sure that your targets are concrete and something that can be measured.
Reason to write down your goals #5: Track your progress
An important step in the process of achieving your goals is to keep track of your progress. Failures are inevitable, and therefore you should keep track of your failures, too, in order to avoid making the same mistakes again. When you can see how much progress you have made, you feel encouraged to keep going.
Tracking your progress also allows you to identify the best practices. It’s a way to remind yourself of what you want to achieve. We get easily distracted and lose our thoughts but writing things down gets us back on track.
Many of us have a goal to write something but it’s not so easy to get started. In case you find it difficult to bring your vision into reality by writing, you may want to spend some time polishing your skills. If you don’t feel comfortable with writing, don’t let it hold you back, however. There are tools and services that can help you. Take a look at these, for example:
- Grammar Girl– a writing blog on the Quick and Dirty Tips website, focused on helping people do things better, e.g. how to improve your writing.
- Grammarly– a proofreading tool that helps you avoid mistakes in grammar, spelling, word choice, punctuation, and style.
- Handmadewritings– a website that offers a variety of editing and writing services that can help you polish your content.
- Readable– a text analysis software that analyzes your text for its readability.
If you want to read more about the connection between writing down your goals and goal success, you can check our earlier post about how to turn goals into habits.
We all want to achieve better results. Writing down your goals is a good starting point. It’s an easy technique that helps you be more efficient and reduce your stress at the same time. It’s your time to give it a try and make the most of your goals.