Write it Down!

@GreenMoo (11842)
January 16, 2013 3:16am CST
I've read time and time again that writing your goals down rather than carrying them around in your head is the first step to achieving them. This morning I saw a study which backed that up. I read that there had been a study of Yale University students which focused on goal setting. It was discovered that only 3% of the students had written their goals down. Twenty years later the ex-students were reviewed and it was discovered that those 3% were worth more financially than the remaining 97% combined. Pretty strong incentive to write those goals down! Do YOU have your goals written down somewhere? Do you think it's a worthwhile idea? Why do you think it does or doesn't work?
6 people like this
17 responses
@thesids (22362)
• Bhubaneswar, India
16 Jan 13
It doesnt work for me at least today when I am ill. Yes, it used to work when I was a student and even when I was working. Today, due to my health issues, some of the goals which I had for me can never be achieved. And somedays I felt that they (writing down goals and being unable to accomplish them) only adds to my sorrow and sadness. So I have stopped writing out any goals for me. And I have even cut down on whatever goals I had. Today, there are only two goals which I have not written down, but I do keep reminding me often and work towards them - 1. Try to bring a smile on at least one face every day 2. try to keep my wife happy
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
16 Jan 13
Hiya thesids, No matter what keep writing your goals down and allow yourself to let them happen they may not happen right away its true but happen they will. It may be in the form of anything the answer I mean. If anything you may be able to improve your health at least now that is worth something surely? You matter the most you are number one first and then the others after. Sorry for butting in here greenmoo I just really felt for thesids there. Write what you want down and stick it on the fridge on the mirror if needs be but you are worthy of being healthy we all are. Hugs.xxx
@owlwings (38876)
• Cambridge, England
16 Jan 13
I would point out that you DID just write them down ... here! (and you did bring a smile to this face, at least!) It is certainly difficult (and depressing) when health and circumstances limit the goals that you once had but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't set NEW goals which are within your capabilities (or, maybe, stretch them a little, even). When I was recovering from a major operation, I was advised to set myself targets every day of walking a little further. 50 metres was about all I could manage a day for the first few days I was home. By setting myself a target of walking to the next lamp post in the road, however, and by writing down how far I had walked, I gradually increased my targets and achievements until I could celebrate by walking 500 metres to the pub (and back!). The goals that you set yourself each day should be within your capabilities (of course ... otherwise you cannot achieve them) but you should try to set them so that they stretch you just a little in whatever way you feel you need to improve. That way, you have a long-term goal which you eventually achieve by moving a little closer towards it every day in your short-term goals. Writing down your long-term goal and marking off your progress towards it every day is certainly very helpful and wonderfully encouraging but, at the same time, it is useless to set unrealistic goals - setting a target (however long term) of "Visit Jupiter" might be pointless, for example, though "Visit America" or "Climb Mount Everest" may or may not be realistically achievable ... only you can decide!
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
16 Jan 13
Me again, See how owlwings is so right? I had to stay in bed for 15 days once and I thought I would never get any strength back but I did. So glad that he managed to recover baby steps. Do not give up thesids are you listening? Hope so keep writing them down allow those wants to be and let them go like diving off a springboard and imagine that there is a safety net of love below. Come on even if you doubt which we all do don´t ever think that we are any different when it comes to that. Keep going thesids you can always improve saying here "fake it till you make it" play at pretend very powerful although you might not think so.xxx
@katsmeow1213 (29029)
• United States
16 Jan 13
First I need to have goals, and that's my trouble right now. I don't really have any. Sometimes I'm not really sure I want to change anything at all. There's a part of me that likes just working part-time where I am now. I get good pay and great benefits, but I'm only part-time. I'd take full-time right now if they gave it to me because I need the money, but sometimes I think I wouldn't be able to handle full-time hours. I have been looking to switch careers and get into medical which is what I went to school for.. but other days I think I'm probably better off where I am and at least have a year of experience with what I'm doing. I guess it's the idea of change that scares me.
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@GreenMoo (11842)
17 Jan 13
I know where you're coming from, as I'm lacking concrete goals myself. I really would like to set myself some, and I'm working on it, otherwise I feel like I'm just drifting.
• United States
17 Jan 13
I don't feel like I'm drifting.. just that there's too much uncertainty right now. Would I be better off switching careers or staying put? If I stay put I know what I'm in for.. but if I switch careers what happens if I end up not liking it? Then on the other hand if I stay put, what happens if I just get fired in a few months for a mistake as in the banking business mistakes are costly. If I don't switch careers now, but later decide I want to, will it be too late? Is it already too late since most places want experience and I have none?
@GreenMoo (11842)
20 Jan 13
I really don't envy you, having to make those decisions. The big advantage of my life is that I'm not reliant on other people (employers!). If it all goes wrong, there's noone to blame but myself.
@MsTickle (24991)
• Australia
20 Jan 13
Just to break that down somewhat, I find if I do a "to do" list each day, I achieve more. Now, I don't do it every day but when I feel strong enough, well enough and motivated enough to do chores, having a list helps. Same deal when I go shopping...if I write down all my errands rather than just the shopping, I can get it all done and get it done more efficiently. It only works with chores and errands though, not with things I actually like or want to do. Years ago, I did write down some goals and every now and then I come across them and it's interesting to see that I have achieved quite a few of those things over a 20+ year period.
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
20 Jan 13
I wonder if, when you wrote those goals down originally, you had a 20+ year timeframe in mind? I really struggle with making goals beyond tomorrow, and the idea of setting them for the future is just beyond me currently.
2 people like this
@MsTickle (24991)
• Australia
20 Jan 13
There was no time frame as such but it was certainly not meant to take so long. The guy that I was with at the time strayed away so I gave the ideas away but I have still achieved some of those things. I don't like planning too much for the future. Yes, it's nice to have something to look forward to but I think we are going too fast and we should stop and take the time to live for today and enjoy any special moments as they happen. Time passes too quickly if we let it.
1 person likes this
• China
18 Jan 13
To be frank with you,It is sort of beyond me why there was so much difference between the 3% and the 97% due to whether or not writing their goals down.If the study you mentioned leaves no room for doubt,I reckon whether writing the goals down or not is a mirror of what type of person they are.The 3% certainly took their goals seriously and spared no efforts to achieve them.It is exactly what is called it's dogged as does it.
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@GreenMoo (11842)
20 Jan 13
I imagine that those who wrote their goals down were more goal orientated individuals, but it still seems an amazing difference.
1 person likes this
• China
22 Jan 13
Yes,It proves that achievement doesn't always happen by accident or is referred to as luck and success comes to one who waits.
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@peavey (16312)
• United States
16 Jan 13
I write down short term goals, both financial and non financial, but I don't always meet them. I think it has more to do with focus and how much one really wants to meet the goal. Writing it down helps focus one's mind on it, but still, I think it comes from within, not from a piece of paper. Could it be that those who write down their goals are already much more goal oriented? Perhaps that's the reason for their success, rather than the actual writing.
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@GreenMoo (11842)
17 Jan 13
You could well be right. I have a challenge thinking of goals too far ahead.
@peavey (16312)
• United States
17 Jan 13
I do, too. It's hard to stay motivated when I don't see progress in front of my face.
@doroffee (4230)
• Hungary
17 Jan 13
I write them down, also. I find that if you write something down, it generates thoughts in your head which makes you think about them as stuff you MUST/HAVE TO do. Like it's documented, like in a contract or something. Or maybe, it's only me who works that way psychologically :).
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@GreenMoo (11842)
17 Jan 13
I don't write them down, but I can see the point of doing so.
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@wolfie34 (26820)
• United Kingdom
16 Jan 13
My therapist has given me some worksheets to work on, and I have to write down the goals for the next week, next month, next year and next 5 years, for a person who lives for today, and not tomorrow and treat today as my last, and finds thinking about the future too scary, it's quite a difficult task to do, Ideally I would like to work on myself and build up my self esteem. I spent Tuesday night filling the forms in and recognizing what goals I am aiming for. I guess writing it down, seeing it in black and white and also knowing that my therapist will read them make them more poignant.
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@GreenMoo (11842)
17 Jan 13
I think if I had someone to report back to I would be far more motivated to make things concrete.
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@jillhill (37384)
• United States
22 Jan 13
I have also heard that this works to achieve success. I have never tried writing down long term goals but short term and using the list as a guideline for my next move.....if nothing else when you scratch off something from the list it feels wonderful!
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
16 Jan 13
Hiya GM, Now that you have said that I am going to write them down and keep them hidden as that way no one will know except me. There is reason for that but will not write it here. I use images as well to help me to remember about what I want. Trouble is like everyone else I want things to happen right away. Okay sometimes they might just happen but others not. Question of waiting really.xxx
@GreenMoo (11842)
17 Jan 13
I think I would not want to make my goals in life available for just anyone to see, although I must admit that I am pretty poor at setting myself goals in the first place. I think images are a great idea. Do you have a board or something where you stick them all? I know that works well for lots of people. It only works though if your goals are tangible things (a car for instance, or a new house), but is more difficult if they relate to personal development for instance.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
17 Jan 13
Hiya GM, Well those I am going to write down but I am going to keep them out of sight of other people as they are relative only to me other ones I can let them see but they will not realize what it is all about because only I know that. No I don´t use a board or anything like that images are really my favourites. I have a graphic design software a very easy one and I mess around with the photos I take sometimes and turn them into postcards if I can. I already have one idea but have to learn and get to grips with a camera someone gave me recently. Quite hard trying to read the manual so I mess around with that and I learn far more that way. Yes personal development is much harder to keep going but I am still getting there baby steps but getting there. I think we all start the New Year off with different ideas but I am hell bent on making at least one of my ideas come to fruition.xxx
@GreenMoo (11842)
20 Jan 13
I wish you every success with it!
1 person likes this
@BarBaraPrz (19379)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
16 Jan 13
I guess one would have to actually have a goal before setting it down on paper.
@GreenMoo (11842)
17 Jan 13
Me too. I've vague ideas floating around in my head, but nothing concrete.
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@BarBaraPrz (19379)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
17 Jan 13
Concrete in the head would hurt...
@GreenMoo (11842)
20 Jan 13
I fairly regularly feel as if someone's replaced my brain with toothpaste. I wonder if it feels the same.
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
16 Jan 13
Not all of my goals, but I do have my financial ones on Excel. Back in 2005, I started to create a spreadsheet of my financial situation. On where I was in terms of debt and income. And where I wanted to be. I still regularly update my Excel spreadsheet, and looking back at the history, it does look promising. I'm certainly in a better place than back then.
@GreenMoo (11842)
17 Jan 13
Quite motivating, to see that upwards curve?
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
17 Jan 13
Yes it is! And it gives a little bit of hope.
• United States
16 Jan 13
This year instead of New Year resolutions, I decided to make them goals instead. I do have them written down (about 7 or 8 goals I think) and they are hanging on my refrigerator so I can see them all the time. They are pretty high goals so it will take me a while to do this but I do believe these will be reached this year. Yes, I do feel it will work and it is a worthwhile idea. If I can do 3 of them I will be happy and satisfied......now if I can just win the lottery, lol!
@GreenMoo (11842)
17 Jan 13
7 or 8 sounds like a lot! but keeping them where you see them is a great idea as you'll never forget them.
@p1kef1sh (45642)
16 Jan 13
Of I wrote anything down I'd only lose it. I did once keep a mood diary as part of some Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and it Is interesting to look back at it now and see what set off various emotions. I am not convinced that you absolutely have to write that stuff down though to prosper.
@GreenMoo (11842)
17 Jan 13
I think diaries can be really helpful to look back on, and I'm currently trying to persuade my partner to keep one relating to his stomach problems. Saying that, I'm pretty rubbish at writing stuff down myself. I always (wrongly) think I'll remember.
@vernaC (1493)
• Romania
16 Jan 13
I don't write down my goals, they just stay in my head. I'm looking forward for my goals but I'm always waiting for the right time and have proven this for a lot of times already, for myslef though. I know what I want so I don't need to write them down, I just need an opportunity to make them happen.
@GreenMoo (11842)
17 Jan 13
I don't write them down myself, although I'll seriously consider doing so when I work out what they are!
@joliefille (3696)
• Philippines
16 Jan 13
Writing down goals - Writing down goals enables us to be more focused
I do believe in that. I find that when I write small or short-term goals I become more focused and invest my energy wisely in a specific area. If I didn't write down a goal, I tend to get sidetracked by other things. Sidetracked by others's opinions on how I should approach my goal, for example. Plus there's that issue about our memory, we can't always remember everything we thought of an hour ago or a few hours ago. It will always be drowned out by other thoughts.
@GreenMoo (11842)
17 Jan 13
Other people's opinions are a serious threat to productivity I think. It's nice to talk about our goals, but sometimes people are not helpful even when they think they're being so.
@inertia4 (27395)
• United States
26 Jan 13
I believe that works. I try and write them down, but I always have them in my mind no matter what. Part of the problem with achieving goals is taking the first step. That always seems to be the hardest to do. And to procrastinators, that step is real steep. Well, I do have some goals to set this year. One of them is already in the works. Then I have one more major one to accomplish. I also think doing them one at a time makes it even easier.
• Canada
26 Jan 13
My husband and I plot our goals and our finances on the calendar I have in my iphone. We have our whole year planned ahead. We sat own at the beginning of January, and figured out what we wanted to do this year, how much it would cost, and how and when we would start saving for it. Some are things we wanted to do together, and then there are a few things we want to do on our own. Bottom line, everything's planned in advance.