Do Written Goals Really Make a Difference? The Power of Written Goals

Do Written Goals Really Make a Difference? The Power of Written Goals

As 2022 has come to an end and 2023 has made its entry, it’s that time of the year again…when we set new goals… and begin setting intentions to create momentum in the ‘right’ direction for where we want to go.

With these new goals in sight, let's make it our mission to pop the champagne & CELEBRATE our massive achievements in the very near future!

New year, new goals, greater achievements – what are some of YOUR goals for the year?

To launch that ground-breaking idea you’ve had in the back of your mind since college… ?

To get a new job… ?

To make TWICE as much income this year as you did last year… ?

To be able to rock that bikini you’ve had your eye on come Summer time… ?

I’ll see you at the finish line dude!

Today, we are talking all about the power of written goals…and how YOU can make them WORK to your advantage!! I’m confident that I can help you GET to that finish line … but it’s going to require some effort & passion from you!

Business before pleasure. There’s a TON of work to do first! So, less wishing, more doing. It’s time to get down to business.

Okay, I’m here to share WHY you should write down your goals. Well for starters, because that’s the first step towards ACHIEVING that goal .. knowing what it is and declaring it in writing!! You would be surprised how well it works…

The difference between achieving and not achieving your goals – whatever they are – is understanding how to set them and knowing how to go about achieving them. YOU are about to discover the TRUE power of written goals… ready?!

Studies have shown a significant likelihood that your goals will be achieved if they are actually WRITTEN DOWN as opposed to if they were just stored somewhere in your brain.

So, exactly what happens when you go about your personal goal setting in a WRITTEN form?

Writing down your goals helps you clarify what you want to achieve in the future… and makes you emotionally and intellectually engaged in achieving your goal. SIMPLE, but MIND-BLOWING!

Alright .. let’s dive into the facts, shall we?

What Writing (Down Your Goals) Does for Your Brain

Back in school or during seminars, workshops or meetings, it’s expected from us to take notes. Now, I don’t know about you, but I always wondered - WHY? The answer is simple…because this helps with RECALL.

Kind of obvious, right? But the real gold lies in the SCIENCE behind the power of written goals.

Writing occurs on two basic levels: encoding and external storage. External storage is the actual piece of paper or the notes on your digital device that REMIND you of the goals you have written. Facts!

You will place your list of goals somewhere so that you will have to SEE and REMEMBER them constantly…and that’s why note-taking was such a successful memory aid back in our good old school days.

But that’s not ALL…we also have ENCODING. Which, in my opinion, is the most interesting part…

Encoding is what happens in our brains when we see something, and the information is transferred to the hippocampus for evaluation.  It is in this part of the brain that the brain decides what it stores for the LONG-TERM and what it tosses out.

But, how does the brain rate and rank this information? I thought you’d never ask !! 

The answer is in the simple act of writing down your thoughts.

When you write, YOU are subconsciously reading to yourself…you are also likely creating HIGHLIGHTS, noting down important points…drawing up analogies and connecting ideas…drawing pictures…striking out less important details…

Pretty cool, right?! THIS is the power of written goals.

And this is what I want YOU to achieve…imagine how much closer to your goals you could get 1 year from now just by doing that simple, but EFFECTIVE activity!

In the science world, this is called the “generation effect”. It’s the opinion that people recall information better if they have created it themselves, as opposed to if they have just read it.

Let me break it down for you a little bit … so for example, if you read a travel guide to, say, Japan, and think about going there, you might remember.

But if you then take the itinerary and REWRITE the most relevant points in your own words, creating connections and making plans, your brain naturally prioritizes this information for you, compared to the hypothetical travel guide you just read. This way, it helps you recall what truly matters. Make sense?!

The thing is, when it comes to boosting recall, the more SENSES that you engage, the better.

Let’s break down the reasons why you should be writing down your goals a bit further...

cindy blue daily grind planner - the power of written goals

The Power of Written Goals: 5 Benefits of Writing Down Your Goals

When it comes to the power of written goals, there are 5 KEY benefits that you should ABSOLUTELY know about.

1. Clarity around your goals

If you are not clear about WHAT you want … or WHERE you want to go, you’ll lack direction. Without focus, it’s easy to get distracted and spend time and resources on activities that are not necessarily aligned with where you are trying to go and what you’re trying to achieve.

Luckily, I have the SOLUTION for you: write down your goals!! Bonus points if you can write them down MORE than once .. repetition is KEY! I swear, if you give it a shot, you’ll be shocked by how effective it is.

When you write down your goals, you clarify your future. This simple action helps you have a clearer vision of what you want to achieve in life. It removes your goals from your mind and makes them visible and real. Writing your goals out helps you SEE them in black and white.

This extra layer forces you to think about your goals more clearly and define them more absolutely. This means that the goal to “lose some weight” becomes a clear and concise “lose 10 pounds by X date”. Once it is ON PAPER, it is hard to tweak them or “cheat”. Crazy…right??

Writing down your goals will narrow your focus and provide you with SHORT-TERM MOTIVATION… and excitement!! It’ll force you to choose specific, measurable, bite-sized goals that are important to YOU on both a long and short-term basis.

It’s this clarity that will help you filter out things, activities, and people that don’t contribute to the success of your goals. Talk about being PRODUCTIVE! THIS is the power of written goals.

2. Makes you focused

I really want to hit this one home: writing down your goals will narrow your focus… and sync your thoughts with your actions.

With lots of opportunities and an abundance of choices before us every day (now more than ever!), it is super easy to become distracted and disorganized. With improved goal setting comes a better ability to manage your TIME and ENERGY, as well as focus better.

So, what should you do?

Have a small number of specific, measurable goals to work towards. This allows you to focus on the things that are truly important to you.

3. Helps you keep track

The power of written goals also lies in their ability to help you TRACK your PROGRESS…

When you are working towards your goals, it is important that you measure and celebrate progress. However, measuring progress is only possible when you have noted things down.

Having your goals written down helps you hold yourself accountable. Each milestone covered comes with this feeling of ACCOMPLISHMENT, and as a result will bring you joy!

From small things like a to-do list of house chores before you head out for the day, to a short list of business and personal targets to hit before the first quarter of the year runs out, or a personal goal to exercise everyday … When you have a list sitting in front of you, it becomes HARD to give into excuses or cheat yourself. I don't know about you, but I find it SUPER satisfying to check things off my to-do list, it makes me feel like I’ve been productive, done something sufficient & given purpose to my day.

By comparison, when our goals are boldly and clearly written out, we are encouraged to push through to accomplish each one on the list.

And TRUST ME, it feels SO good being able to strike out a couple of goals already met!!

“Three down, seven more to go!”

Does the progress feel small? Maybe yes, but those little tasks add up to the big momentum shifts … plus any improvement is still progress!! When you note down your goals and review your progress daily, weekly, or monthly (as the case may be), you will start to see HOW FAR you have come.

4. Stay motivated

It’s no secret that achieving your goals takes courage, commitment, and motivation. To maintain these states of mind, it’s honestly crucial that you write down the goals you want to ACHIEVE.

When you write it down and make daily progress, this helps you stay on track and feel motivated. To keep the fire burning, it’s also important to set EXCITING goals and then take deliberate steps towards actualizing them.

Keeping your goals measurable and setting clear deadlines will help you monitor progress and align it to your vision. So jot down those big dreams, set milestone goals that matter to you, and create a clear picture of who you want to be in the future and what you want to achieve.

The feeling of achievement that comes from the result of YOUR hard work is super rewarding!

A helpful little tip for you:

Take the time to write down your goals in the morning and review them at night. If you wrote them on an actual paper, try to place the note somewhere where it will be most noticeable, maybe on the front door, your fridge, bathroom mirror, or on the wall above your workstation (it is totally up to you!!).

Write your goals down and review them regularly to be sure you’re making real progress towards achieving them. This is going to drastically help your motivation & self confidence!

5. Greater productivity

While writing down your goals, it is absolutely NECESSARY to set mini milestones and deadlines if you’re serious about making it happen ... This increases your focus and gives you a specific destination to work towards.

Knowing (with clarity) what you want to accomplish helps you manage time and increase productivity.

When there is no clear deadline, it is easy to push back the timeline or even dilute the goal entirely, which causes you to waste time, energy and resources.

When you set deadlines for your goals, it signals your brain to take the goal seriously and your mindset starts to shift to be READY for the new task ahead!!

With measurements and deadlines in place, you can then break your goals down into small ACTIONABLE steps.

Breaking things up into smaller milestones and shorter deadlines helps you take baby steps that are relatively easy and painless. This makes it easy to accomplish more in less time.

So, use the power of written goals for greater productivity.

Summary

All in all, writing down your goals comes with a ton of benefits. It clarifies your target and helps you prioritize what you need to get there!

Writing down your goals will help you describe, engage with and commit to them. When your goals are in writing, you have a CONSTANT reminder of your vision, which helps you remain excited and motivated to make it all happen!! How cool is that?

This simple action gives you such a greater chance of building your dream life. You know, kinda that saying … “A goal that is not written down is nothing more than a wish.”

So, make sure that you write down every goal (big and small), review them regularly, and work hard towards achieving them. Remember – stop wishing, start doing!!

So, if you are ready to start using the power of written goals, GET started with our incredible collection of daily planners that will help you keep track of each and every one of them.

FAQ

Why is a written goal more powerful?

A written goal is more powerful because it helps your brain truly connect with this goal and its timeline for accomplishment. Being able to describe exactly what you want to achieve - in a specific and measurable way - how you plan to achieve it, and when you want to see results, is much more powerful than simply thinking about it.

Do written goals really make a difference?

Yes, written goals really do make a difference! People who are able to describe their goals vividly are FAR more likely to accomplish their goals than those that aren’t.