The Written Word

A Har­vard Uni­ver­sity study report­edly showed that writ­ing down your goals makes you much more likely to accom­plish said goals. The study con­cluded that of Har­vard MBA grad­u­ates, 3% who wrote down their goals earned 10 times as much as the other 97% com­bined. And although this study has been dis­cred­ited as an urban leg­end, there is evi­dence out there to sup­port the idea that writ­ing down your goals makes you much more likely to achieve them.

A study done at Domini­can Uni­ver­sity showed that sur­vey par­tic­i­pants who wrote their goals down were around 33% more likely to achieve their goals than par­tic­i­pants who didn’t write their goals down. Espe­cially suc­cess­ful were those sur­veyed who wrote their goals down, shared those goals with a friend, and reported to that friend on a weekly basis.

It’s clear that writ­ing down your goals can make you more likely to suc­ceed in mak­ing them a real­ity, but why? Here are five ideas about why that may be:

  1. Writ­ing down your goals helps you focus on what you really want. It makes you cut through the hazy, neb­u­lous things you might like to do and get to the meat of your deep­est desires.
  2. Writ­ing down your goals moves you to action. See­ing your goal there, in black and white, helps solid­ify the idea in your mind. It helps you to plot actions to take that will help you achieve your goals.
  3. Writ­ing down your goals will help you stay on tar­get. As you become more and more suc­cess­ful, you will be pre­sented with more and more oppor­tu­ni­ties. Some of these oppor­tu­ni­ties may take you off the track to achiev­ing your goal. If you write your goal down, you know what it is you want, and that makes it eas­ier for you stay on task.
  4. Writ­ing down your goal will help you leap over obsta­cles. Some peo­ple may think you can’t do it. They may think you’d be bet­ter suited doing some­thing else. Hav­ing a writ­ten goal gives you some­thing to cling to when the waters of doubt rise.
  5. Writ­ing down your goals will help your track your progress. Some­times, when you’re in the mid­dle of some­thing, you’re not always aware of your progress. For instance, you may not notice you’ve lost weight because you have to see your­self every­day. If you write down your goals, that sets the bedrock of where you started and allows you to look back and see truly how far you’ve come.