5 Reasons to Write Down Your Goals
There are so many ideas out there about goal-setting and I have a few ideas of my own. I am a firm believer in having a solid format in which to go about setting goals. Process is very key. What I have also come to firmly believe in and probably the most important part of setting goals, is your mind-set, your belief in self and your ability to achieve your goals. You have to be crystal clear on what you want, what you value and that you truly have the skills, the strengths and the resources to make your goals happen.
Let’s take a simple task that we can all relate to, like going grocery shopping. Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a grocery list? How did that work for you? If you are task oriented person, you probably picked up a few necessities, but you likely forgot some of the items you, your spouse or your partner really wanted causing you to go out again, spending more time and money. Or, you will wonder aimlessly through the store buying everything you see on sale, you start to get hungry, so you pick up way to many goodies and carb-filled items, only to get home and forget the one thing at the top of your list –MILK!! How could you forget the milk?? Well, if you had your list with you, chances are you would have gone up and down the appropriate isles, you would not have all kinds of extra items that, let’s face it, you probably don’t need and you would have shopped in half the time.
Well, it’s kind of like going through life or being in business without having clear, specific goals. You may find yourself saying, “I need to lose about 20lbs, but I just don’t have time to exercise.” Or, if you’re in business, “I really need to start making more money, or I’m going to be in some trouble and I’ll have to go get a job –but how? I don’t even know where to start!” These are all things I hear from people all the time. Something many people don’t want to hear though, is that there is a specific process, an important link to, going from thinking about doing something or wanting to do something… to actually making it happen!!
There is a whole psychological connection to starting projects, but never finishing them, getting a gym membership, maybe going for a few weeks, then you stop going or in business, that you don’t go after that big account. Want to know what it is?
No, it’s not that you get busy and don’t have time. It’s not that it isn’t important to you or that you don’t want to. The biggest reason that you don’t finish that project, that you stop going to the gym or that you don’t go after that big account is because… you haven’t written all of these things down. You may be saying, well I can’t write down everything I want to do… that’s ridiculous Heather!! Is it ridiculous?
I am going to challenge that thought or mindset by sharing the 5 reasons why writing down your goals will help you accomplish more than you ever have before.
- You will get very clear and specific about what you want. The very act of writing down your goals will help crystallize the desire. You will begin to see you yourself having what you want and you will be so in touch with what it looks like, that you will be able to describe it in great detail to others.
- It helps you see where your strengths are. Once you write down your goals, you will understand what you bring to the table and what you are missing. You may realize that you need to bring in an expert for advice or support, you may need to purchase something or engage with a process in order to make it happen. That said, having written down your goal and being really clear and specific on what you want, you will then be able to determine what you can do and exactly what additional support you will need. For example, when I realized that I wanted to take my running to the next level and run longer distances, and set a goal to run a half-marathon, I quickly realized that I could do the running, but I needed a running coach to help me with a training plan to make it happen. I started working with my coach in August 2014, got serious about running and ran my first half-marathon on March 1, 2015!! I have recently hired a new business coach as well, for similar reasons. I really want to take my coaching & training business to the next level.
- Writing your goals down makes them real. When you see what you want written down, it becomes so real. Trust me, when I first wrote down recently with my business coach, what I want to accomplish for 2017 –let me just say, it got real!! But in a good way… you know the kind of real that almost takes your breath away, if it weren’t so darned exciting, exhilarating and exactly what I want.
- You will come up with more than one reason to accomplish your goal. This is the real clincher. When you write down your goals, it’s not selfish. It’s about moving forward, stepping outside your comfort zone, modelling the behaviour of a driven, goal-oriented individual to everyone around you. For me it was, when I accomplish in 2017 what I have written down, it will benefit my family, my amazing husband, because he will be able to follow his dreams AND it will definitely benefit me and my business. Now that feels incredible!
- You will want to finish what you started. How many of us start on a journey and for whatever reason we don’t get to our destination. We get distracted, we find other things to do, things come up that are either more important or we make it seem that way. When you write down your goals, attach a value or benefit to completing them and keep those written goals in a place that is visible to you regularly, you will want to accomplish them. The even better part, is that once you are fully engaged with accomplishing your goals, you will automatically start to create a plan as to how you will accomplish your goals. That is a fact.
What have I noticed? Often I find that people are afraid to write down their goals. It’s happened in my workshops, it’s happened with clients where they are afraid to write down the thing they want most. It’s very natural to be afraid to write them down, because what I have learned is that there are two things we all fear most –fear of failure and/or fear of success. What is truly interesting is that psychologically, once you write something down, your subconscious mind actually begins to go to work on how to make this happen and why it would be a good thing! It’s true. Your body, mind and spirit naturally want to work together, it’s all of the energy that we allow in (often negative energy or thoughts from others) that clash with our body, mind and spirit, start to dampen our trust-in-self and manipulate our belief systems, causing us to shy away from our dreams.
How to respond to this? Again, the act of writing down your goals, what your strengths and values are, how the goal or goals are aligned with them and why it would be beneficial to achieve the goal(s), you can overcome the negative energy and thoughts. Replace them instead with positive affirmations, positive self-talk and take a step everyday towards your goal.
Final thoughts… I encourage you to start. Write down what you want most, follow the above 5 steps. You have the power within you to accomplish everything you want. The choice is yours now. Are you ready to make 2017 your best year yet?
Heather Wilson, ATC