You’ve probably heard that you should be writing down your goals to have the best chance of achieving them, but did you know why? We’ll look at the reasons why here!
Why You Should Be Writing Down Your Goals
We hear a lot about the importance of goal-setting, but most of us don’t have clear and measurable goals to work towards.
Even fewer of us actually have those goals written down. Lewis Carroll says, “any road will get you there, if you don’t know where you are going,” but how important are goals really and if they are vital, how can we make them most effective?
There was a fascinating study conducted on the 1979 Harvard MBA program where graduate students were asked “have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”
The result, only 3% had written goals and plans, 13% had goals but they weren’t in writing and 84% had no goals at all. Ten years later, the same group was interviewed again and the result was absolutely mind-blowing.
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 quantify success, I still find it to be an extremely motivating example of why creating clear and measurable goals and writing them down is a key to success. Feeling motivated? Here are four steps to creating clear and measurable goals that will lead you to huge success.
Create a Vision
The first step to creating a goal is to figure out what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you don’t know what you need to achieve to get there. This is actually the fun part. You get to dream.
What do you really want to create for yourself?
What does your ideal life look like? Don’t be afraid to think big. Take fifteen minutes and document your vision. Take note of the details.
What does your day look like?
Where are you living? Try to incorporate all senses in your vision to make it most effective. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel throughout this ideal day?
Make it Measurable
Take your vision and turn it into a written list of concrete goals. If in your ideal world you are working for yourself, one of your goals might be to start your own company.
Choose an achievable time frame to accomplish your goals, as well as measurable details, so you know exactly when you’ve achieved them.
What exactly does it mean to start your own company? Make sure to set yourself up for success by creating goals that are realistic and achievable in the given time-frame.
Keep reading here: Why You Should Be Writing Down Your Goals
If you’re having a difficult time setting your goals you may need some direction about where to start. Here are 3 questions you should be asking yourself before you start setting your goals.
Three Vital But Often Overlooked Goal Setting Questions
Goal setting is a powerful skill that almost all top performers possess and polish. Very few areas of life offer more variety than goal setting and goal reaching.
I personally use the Zig Ziglar goal setting program and planner. Friends of mine are advocates of the David Allen “Getting Things Done” approach. Some friends carry a Day Timer everywhere they go while others do it all on their smart phone.
No matter how you do your goal setting, there are three questions that are vital to your success.
These questions are often overlooked. That’s ironic because the answers to these three questions will give you a sense of ownership of your goals that will empower you to achieve more and experience more satisfaction too.
Here are the three vital questions, along with a brief word about why they matter so much.
Is this my goal?
This is an important, even vital, question. We all have goals imposed on us. If we work at a job it is unavoidable. The boss pays your salary so his or her goals are your work goals.
I’m talking about something deeper. I’m talking about the goals that were planted in your brain as a young person.
These are often the “you should” statements we have all heard.
Many of us think of success as the end goal. But what happens once we reach it? Here’s a different look at the idea of success, one that focuses on the journey rather than the destination.
Before you can achieve success, it’s critical that you invest some time in defining success.
At the age of six, Corinne Archer* started putting in long hours training in her sport. Long before she entered her teens, she had fixed her mind on a single goal: to win an Olympic gold medal.
From then on, she crushed everything out of her life that didn’t contribute to her goal. Every available hour went to practice. Trophies and honors piled up as the years went by, but they meant little to Corinne beyond making her dream of winning the gold medal seem a little more real.
After eleven years, the big day finally came, and Corinne Archer arrived at the Olympics to meet the world’s toughest competitors. The contest was grueling, but she won. At seventeen, Corinne stood at the highest pinnacle she could ever hope to attain by her own definition of success. The gold medal, whose pursuit had dominated two-thirds of this young woman’s life, was now hers.
Corrine left the victory stand in tears—of joy, or so everyone thought.
For days she was near tears much of the time. Hardly able to remember a time when every waking moment hadn’t been driven by the demands of her almost impossible quest, Corinne realized almost at the instant of victory that she faced a blank future.
Without that quest, this intensely goal-oriented young lady no longer had a purpose in life. From always living in the future, Corinne was suddenly thrown into living in the past.
Slowly, painfully, several difficult months went by. Then Corinne Archer began to recover from the tremendous emotional shock of losing her one goal by winning it. As she learned to live in the present, Corinne renewed her interest in life by discovering the power and beauty of having many goals rather than just one all-encompassing commitment.
Success, then, is not a thing we win, a place we arrive at, a record we set. It’s not the numbers in our bank account, the address we live at or the position we hold. If success is none of these things, then, what is it? I’ll share my definition here, then explain it in detail.
Success is the continuous journey toward the achievement of pre-determined, worthwhile goals.
Read more here: Defining Success | How to Selling Skills