Committing your goals from head to paper makes you more likely to succeed.
These shoes are fine. We can always sell them later. I can always sell them later.
These were the words my cousin said yesterday when I told him I was going to throw out two pairs of worn down shoes. He recently purchased some new shoes and had no need for the older pair (a pair he’s had for at least four years at this point).
There was also another pair that have been here for a year and haven’t been worn.
It only seemed logical to be throwing them out. Instead he insisted we keep them around and put them in his room.
I’ve heard this line plenty of times that I know what’s going to happen. He’s not going to sell them and they’ll remain in his room until he realizes that he still has them once he moves out.
But probably the greatest chance of me being proven wrong about that fact is if he dediced to set a goal around it.
It’s not anything incredibly serious — we don’t really need the money and two pairs of sneakers are hardly an inconvenience — however the principal of it is important.
Making a point of setting a goal and writing down and reminding yourself of it on a daily basis can provide you with a surprising amount of benefits. Here are some of those reasons.
This is a bit of a common theme with my roommate. The few times I’ve gotten him to commit to something, he’s put it into words but never any action.
When I started going to the gym, I encouraged him to join in. Especially since he used to go to the gym on a regular basis in the past. It’s been several months now and he still hasn’t joined up.
Even though there is a passion for it, there isn’t always a clear direction for those emotions to go.
When you start a goal initially, writing down can give you that initial boost of motivation that you need. It creates a trigger that sets you on a path to doing that activity.
Want to be writing more articles, write down a goal that says “I’ll write one article per day.”
Want to be losing weight, write down a goal that says “I’ll go to the gym five days a week.”
Writing is designed to stir emotions. Use this to write something that motivates you to do that action.
Helps You Focus
Another thing that writing goals on a daily basis will do is to help you focus. I’ve been a huge supporter of to-do lists and one of the reasons I stand by it is that it helps me to focus.
Knowing what you have to do every day and why you’re doing it is helpful. Especially since we’re living in a place with a tonne of distractions.
Another angle that you can look at from this is that when you write things down, you can get a dopamine boost from it over other sources. Again, distractions are everywhere because we are trained that way by this point.
Why bother setting goals when you can get that same feeling and rush of accomplishment from just checking your phone?
Training yourself to replace your phone with some written words about what you want to achieve can help you to focus on the things that really matter.
You Notice More Progress
Progress is progress. Even if you’re not achieving the goal at the moment. By writing it down and reminding yourself of it on a daily basis, you can begin to see progress here and there as you develop.
While simple goals like putting some shoes up for sale have very little growth to them, things like wanting to lose weight, run a business, and learning a new language provide more substantial and noticeable growth.
That bit of progress can provide extra motivation as it gets you to look at other aspects beyond the obvious. For example, while my health goal is about losing weight, I also notice smaller things like my posture, energy levels, and how my body feels overall.
Those aspects push me forward even during periods where my weight loss stalls.
Another approach you can do to this is set milestones or perform a weekly checkup on your progress. Noticing these things helps with motivation, but also determines whether to keep doing what you’re doing or approach the goal from a different angle.
Lets You Set Realistic Time Frames
While I don’t encourage use of the SMART goal system, I do acknowledge that putting time restrictions on these goals helps a lot.
The stricter the time frame you have, the more you’ll focus on the parts that matter the most.
You’ll focus on actually getting the action done and choose the most direct route to achieve it. You forego extensive planning and instead throw ideas around for things that could work and get to it.
Writing a goal is a reminder of that deadline and helps you to assess whether you’re going anywhere too. Depending on the task and the assigned time, it also puts pressure on shifting your habits and tackling the goal from another angle should progress be slow.
Helps The Encoding Process
The last reason setting a goal and writing it daily helps is that it improves the encoding process. Encoding is a biological process we do where what we see travels to our brain where it’s then analyzed.
This process is one of the reasons why people encourage you to write things out — or even type. But using a old fashion pen and paper adds an extra punch to this process for obvious reasons.
Beyond that, writing builds stronger neural pathways in the brain, bringing together both sides of our brain. This information goes through our whole mind and ends up in our subconscious.
While there, not only do you have a better chance of recalling the goal, but you create an imprint of it and an opportunity to motivate yourself and perform that action.
Every habit that we build up has the opportunity to impact us a great deal. The more that we practice it, the more that our lives begin to shift and change.
I’ve said before that my entire business is run on a to-do list and it is. I wouldn’t be writing any of this if it wasn’t for me setting to-do lists, getting them to work properly, and following through with them.