The power of writing down your goals

As we come into a new year, it's important to know the truth about New Year's resolutions.
  • 25% of people abandon their New Year's resolutions after one week.
  • 60% of people abandon their New Year's resolutions within six months.  The average person makes the same New Year's Resolution ten separate times without success.
  • Only 5% of those who lose weight on a diet actually keep it off.  That means 95% of people regain their weight and a significant percentage regain more than they lost in the first place. 

While New Year's resolutions don't work, writing down your goals does make a difference.  Here is why:
Studies have shown that 42% of those who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.  I have also found this to be true.  I write down yearly goals at the beginning of each year.  These are goals that are long-term.  I try to write down a physical, mental and a professional goal. Some examples include the following:
Physical - lose 20 lbs and get in the best shape of my life.
Mental - eliminate wasteful stress from my life (taking on friend/family problems).
Professional - become the manager of my department.
I also repeat this process at the beginning of each month for smaller, short-term goals.

Of course, most people don't write down their goals.  They wander aimlessly through life wondering why they are lacking purpose and/or direction.  I am not saying that writing down your goals will solve everything, it won't.  It is just a good staring place.

I believe that putting forth the effort to even think of clear, concise goals is a step in the right direction.  Here are a few reasons why:

  1. It forces you to clarify what you actually want.  Can you imagine setting out on a trip without knowing your destination?   How would you know what clothes to pack? How would you know when you've arrived? The same can be said for milestones in your life. Having a clear direction is half the battle.
  2. It will motivate you to take action and have some accountability.
  3. It will help you overcome resistance.  Every meaningful dream, intention or goal encounters resistance.  You know the saying, "nothing worth having comes easily and nothing that comes easily is worth having".  This is true with goals.  From the moment you set a goal, you will feel resistance.  If you focus on the resistance, it will become stronger.  The way to overcome it is to focus on the goal.  Decide to be positive and believe you can.
  4. As you achieve your goals, celebrate your progress.  Written goals are like mile markers in the highway.  They allow you to see how far you have come and where you need to go.  Not to mention the fact that it's extremely gratifying to put a check mark next to an accomplished goal.  

The moral of the story is, write down your goals.  Even if you don't believe they are obtainable.  Even if you think they are too big. There is a certain magic that happens when you put your goals in written form.  As we enter 2017, take the first step in making your goals a reality.  


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