Why You Should Write Down Your Goals
There are two types of people in this world — Those who legitimately love writing lists and those who just don’t. Personally, I’m the former. And it has no correlation to the fact that I’m a writer…Well, maybe a little.
I enjoy physically writing out to-do lists, grocery lists, and New Year's goals (formerly known as “resolutions”) and I enjoy doing so using good old fashioned pen and paper. I enjoy seeing everything all written out and I enjoy crossing everything off even more.
As we’re all waiting to bring 2018 to a close and preparing to ring in the new year, many of us are reflecting on the things that have happened this year and thinking of ways that we can make 2019 even better.
One of the ways that we can do so is by writing down a list of goals that we want to accomplish in the coming year. Whether they are big or small or long or short, writing down our goals helps make our them become much more of a reality.
But, not only does it help our goals become more of a reality, but writing them down also helps us increase our odds of achieving them. This is why:
It serves as a tangible reminder.
Writing down our goals gives us something to refer back to. Just like a grocery list at the supermarket, a tangible list of goals allows us to remember things better and also allows us to cross things off once we’ve achieved them. And if they’re not yet crossed off, then that should just give us more of an incentive towards achieving them.
Seeing things written out helps keep things top of mind. In an article published by Scientific American, when responding to a question about the capacity of a human brain, Paul Reber, a professor at Northwestern University explains,
“For comparison, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows.”
That’s a lot to remember.
We all have so many different things floating around in our minds that if we don’t consciously choose what we focus on, then we’ll likely forget about it.
It gives us accountability.
Writing down our goals serves as somewhat of a proclamation or even a promise to ourselves that we’ll fulfill it. Studies show that our likelihood of doing something that we’ve written down to do increases our odds of it actually happening.
In an article written by Marilyn Price-Richard published in Psychology Today, she cites,
“A 2015 study by psychologist Gail Matthews showed when people wrote down their goals, they were 33% more successful in achieving them than those who formulated outcomes in their heads.”
Writing down our goals means that we are intentional about our actions and not just fantasizing them. Writing them out means that want to bring it to life — This is why writers write at all.
There are many benefits to writing down our goals, but as a whole, there are many benefits to writing in general. So for 2019, make it a point to write down your goals and write more as a whole — More importantly, we should be more diligent about what we are writing.
If it’s on paper, then it’s out in the world, so might as well place your best words forwards.