How to achieve goals by writing them down

How to achieve your goals by writing them down

Science suggests we’re 42% percent more likely to achieve our goals if we write them down in long-hand, share them with someone, and review them regularly. Forty-two percent seems an amazing figure, so it may well be worth trying these tips if you’re not in the habit of writing down what you hope to be, do or have within a certain timeframe.

Goals can be as varied as you like. But they usually fall into four major areas:

  • Health
  • Relationships and love
  • Vocation
  • Time, money and freedom.

Of course you can write goals on a computer, a phone or any other electronic device. But writing goals down by hand has many advantages. Where we write them doesn’t matter as long as it’s paper-based.

I’ve tried a few different ways to record my long and short term goals. One was by using a Japanese inspired bullet journal, which was highly visual, colour-coded and fun to use. I wrote about it here. However, after using a bullet journal for a year, I reverted to my old ways which suit me better.

Where I write my goals

If I want to achieve goals, it seems useful to write them in several places. Repetition also improves the likelihood of achievement.

For almost a quarter of a century, I’ve written morning pages in cheap exercise books. Over the years, I’ve developed my own ways to incorporate long and short term goals, to do lists, and many other records. Combined with a paper diary/planner, this works for me.

On my birthday last week, I wrote about my own goals for this time next year. Already, although it’s only November, I’m excited with my new paper diary/planner for 2023. In it I’ve already written my major long-term goal (to publish two books), as well as the things I hope to achieve in the next year.

This diary has plenty of room for notes at the beginning of each month and I’ll review my goals and rewrite them if necessary.

My new diary/planner

There’s also a note to myself on the notice board above my desk, in case I forget what I want to do by my next birthday.

How long-hand writing helps to achieve goals

There are many ways hand-writing works to change our dreams into reality. According to Mary Morrisey in her ebook ‘Stronger than Circumstances’, the most significant is through brain plasticity.

If you think about a goal, you use only the right or imaginative, hemisphere of your brain. But if you think about a goal, then write it down, you also use your logic-based left hemisphere. Morrisey says,

Just the act of writing down your dreams and goals ignites an entirely new dimension of consciousness, ideas and productivity to the powerhouse that is your subconscious mind. This simple act also opens your subconscious to ‘seeing’ opportunities that simply cannot be observed if you’re tied up with THINKING about your goals.

Other advantages of writing down goals

goalsetting

Here are more reasons for writing down goals, reviewing them, and rewriting.

  • Writing helps to clarify our thinking abour our goals and makes them more manageable.
  • With major goals written, it is easier to set sub-goals, plans and to-do lists.
  • Our brains love crossing items off to-do lists. It provides a sense of accomplishment and helps lower anxiety. Every tiny item crossed of a to-do list is a small step towards reaching our goal.
  • Writing things by hand improves our memory, recall and retention.
  • Our brains believe our self-talk. If we write down what we have to do, we trick ourselves into doing it.
  • Writing can improve motivation
  • There is a link between writing and accountability. Seeing what you have written helps keep you accountable to yourself.

I’ve enjoyed thinking and writing about goal-setting in this new way. I’ve always been a goal-and-list-maker, without knowing how it helped.

It would be lovely to hear from my readers what they think about goal-setting, so please leave a comment.

Copyright, Maureen Helen 2022

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