This is the fourth post in our kickstart-the-year series on setting business goals. If you’ve missed any of the first three posts you can find them here:
The importance of writing your goals down has very little to do with making sure you don’t forget what you’re working towards. Sure, that is a risk if you have a lot of goals, but there is a lot more to reaching your goals than simply remembering what they are.
In today’s blog post, we’ll discuss the pros of written goals and hopefully inspire you to put a system in place to write down and regularly review your own goals. And remember, this works for any type of goal, not just the business ones.
The simple act of setting a goal, even if it’s just in your mind, increases your chances of success. If you take it a step further, and actually write those goals down, many people find they are up to 10 times as likely to succeed. Yep… many experienced goal-setters claim that they can increase their chances of achieving a goal by up to 1000%.
There are a few different mental and psychological processes going on here. The first is indeed the simple fact that it’s a lot easier to remember something we’ve written down. You’ve experienced this first hand with your grocery list. When you make a mental list of 10 or 15 things, you’re likely to forget about half of them when you get to the store. If you write out the list on the other hand, and then end up leaving it on the kitchen counter, you will be more likely to remember the vast majority of the items you needed.
The very act of writing things down can help us keep them in our short-term memory. This is explained through the fact that information has to be moved from one area of the brain to another to turn it from thoughts into written words on a page. A process called encoding is also involved. All of this helps you retain and store the information better. It’s the reason we’re asked to take notes during lectures in college.
However the act of writing your goals down is not, in itself, what helps most people reach their goals. The real power lies in the fact that written goals can be regularly reviewed. Ideally, you won’t just write your goals down and forget them. You’ll look at them, preferably every single day, until they are achieved.
This adds another layer of cognitive processing and increases your chances of success even further. Sadly, only a very small percentage of people make the time to regularly review and evaluate their goals, never mind look at them on a daily basis. The ones that do are some of the most successful and highest achieving people out there. In other words, it’s something we should do as well.
To recap, start by setting your goals. I suggest you work backwards to help you with this. Then. write them down. Then set aside some time to review them regularly. This could be weekly, but daily works better. Or you can write down your main goals for the year and review them weekly, but also write down your goals for each week, and review them daily.
Give this a try for this coming quarter. Set yourself a goal. Be specific. It could be something like finally writing your first ebook, or adding an extra $500 to your bottom line. Decide when you’ll reach your goal by, and how you plan to get there. Write it all down and look at it every morning. This will help you stay on track and make time in your busy day to work on making progress towards your goal.
Need help with business planning this year? Consider the Slay Your Goals planner, currently available with the free new year bonus, 10 Quick and Easy Goal Slaying Hacks. And stop by tomorrow, when we’ll be looking at why real growth requires you to step out of your comfort zone, and exactly how to do that. See you then.
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