The effectiveness of writing down your goals

In the last entry we touched on the importance of not believing everything you read, but we also briefly touched on the idea surrounding goals and the importance of writing them down. I’d like to dive a bit further into this topic.

Don’t just set goals, write them down!


I recently came across a study, the Goals Research Study by Gail Matthews, Ph.D of Dominican University, which validates the effectiveness of writing down goals.

In this study, up to 300 participants were brought in from a variety of businesses, organizations and networking groups; some of them were asked to think about their goals (what they want to accomplish over the next four weeks) and then asked to “rate the goal on the following; difficulty, importance, the extent to which they had the skills and resources to accomplish the goal and whether or not they had pursued this goal before.”

Some of the results included “types of goals: completing a project, increasing income, increasing productivity, getting organized, enhancing performance/achievement, enhancing life balance, reducing work anxiety and learning a new skill.”

Examples of “completing a project” included: “writing a chapter of a book, updating a website, listing and selling a house, completing a strategic plan, securing a contract, hiring employees and preventing a hostile take-over.”

The conclusions weren’t surprising; the groups that wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who didn’t. This study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of three coaching tools: accountability, commitment and writing down one’s goals. Writing them out makes you more likely to achieve them; it’s an effective and proven tool to help you accomplish your speaking, business and personal goals. Writing them down means you’ve produced your thoughts physically, making it harder to escape or avoid. Telling people (friends, colleagues) about your goals makes avoiding them even harder. Once you’ve established in a physical way how you want to achieve certain tasks, it will naturally get you going down such a road!

A great case-study that shows this is Lululemon. All employees are required to write down their goals and update them frequently. This was proven by Lululemon’s founder, Dennis “Chip” Wilson, who had his goals written on the bathrooms where everyone could see.  It’s not surprising Lululemon went from a small startup, to a widely known force in the yoga industry.

So, right now, write down three goals: personal, health and career. What’s your short term and long term plans for each? For example, for health; maybe it’s going to the gym three times a week for short term and losing a certain amount of pounds for the long term. Try it! What are some of your goals? Let me know!

About releaseyourvoices

Release Your Voice with Pamela Hart: Public Speaking training based in Vancouver BC. We offer training seminars, oral presentation skills, corporate communication, private lessons or group training
This entry was posted in Challenges, Checklists, Goals. Bookmark the permalink.

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