“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” – Napoleon Hill “If you want to reach a goal, you must ‘see the reaching’ in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.” – Zig Ziglar
I recently came across a study on the effectiveness of goals that was conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University in California. Dr. Matthews’ research showed that people who wrote down their goals, shared this information with a friend, and gave a regular accountability report to that friend were 33% more successful in accomplishing their goals than those who just formulated goals in their mind. I found this research study interesting as it seemed to validate my own experiences with setting goals for myself.
When I was in my youth, my mom introduced me to numerous books on self improvement and personal development. Many of these books suggested there was a power that comes from writing down one’s goals. So, I decided to put this theory to the test. I wrote down approximately twenty specific short-term and long-term goals I wanted to accomplish throughout my life. These goals ranged from things like learning to surf to who I envisioned I would marry some day and when. I can still vividly remember sitting in my room trying to write down the specifics of each goal I envisioned and assigning a time-frame to each one. I kept this list of goals in a spiral bound notebook and occasionally I would come across it in my room and read through the list. Although I cannot say I shared all of these goals with a friend or that I reviewed my progress regularly, I do remember reflecting often in my mind on what I had written down. By writing these goals down they had become tangible and real. And many years later when I happened to come across this notebook containing my list of goals, I was astounded by how many of these goals I had achieved and how accurate I had been with the specifics I had written down regarding my goals.
In his book “Eat That Frog“, author Brian Tracy suggests that when we write down our goals it immediately activates our subconscious mind, which goes to work trying to figure out how to make our plan a reality. Writing it down creates something tangible that allows our mind to help us start formulating a plan. Even when we may not consciously be thinking of our goals and how we are going to reach them every moment of the day, our subconscious mind is constantly at work noticing things around us that support our goals. This is why once we make our goals real by writing them down, it often seems that things around us start to happen to make our dreams become a reality.
So give it a try — take the time to write down your goals and put your subconscious to work for you. Let your mind go to work and create the plans that will make your goals become a reality. Live a life inspired!