Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Goals: Do They Have to be Written?

I found myself in conversation with someone one day regarding the above topic. The person's theory was that even if goals were written, they would not necessarily be achieved. The person was not convinced that writing down goals down would be any more effective than having it stored in one's memory.

Based on the above, I will list why I find writing down goals important.

1. You will be able to see clearly what your intentions and plans are for a particular year, week or even day.
How are you going to know you've reached your destination without a goal. After work, I usually review my goals for the day to see if I've been able to

achieve them and if not assess why I haven't and make plans to see if it can be accomplished on another day.

2. It will help you to focus
It helps you to bring your mind towards that which you are looking to achieve. You have something to fix your mind on and work towards.

3. You can go back and add to the original goals written
If you find yourself achieving goals sooner than you expected, then you can add more goals to your list. That is what even makes it more interesting.

4. Your goals will help you measure your success
An example that I can use here is if I intend to contact 15 potential customers in a month - by crossing off their name each time I make contact, I will be able to see the ones that are left and make plans towards contacting them.

If I do succeed in contacting them all by the end of the month, then that will be the success to show for it.

5. Your written goals are not meant to be rigid
Goals are not set in stone in that they can't be written or amended. You may have started out the year with a plan to move your business a certain way; but then decided to change your course of action due to situations occuring within the industry you are representing. There is no hard and fast rule about this,just change it.

6. They spur you to action
If you find that your written goals have caused you to advance further to your desired location, then of course you will be motivated to take further action to see that you achieve all the goals you've lined up.

On the other hand, it could also have the same effect if you find that none of your goals have been achieved, it could spur you to take action to ensure your goals are met. It will also make you examine the goals to see whether they are realistic.

7. Goals let you know you've "reached your destination".
Once you've accomplished your desired goal, you will know because it's written down for you to see.

Do you have any success story with writing down your goals?


  1. If I didn't write down my goals, they would get lost forever! My brain goes in to many directions at one time and I NEED to write things down in order to keep it all straight!

  2. Interesting post. As for your question in the last sentece: I make to-do lists, and it helps me write down items so that I can follow through with them and not lose something that's important, but maybe not as urgent as other things.

    As for goals: I don't think I ever made a goal list. Then again, I didn't have a lot of tangible goals in my life either. Goals, for me, are the 'big' things in life: getting a PhD, buying a house, earning a certain amount of money after a certain period of time, or having children would fall into that category. However, I never planned any of these. My PhD was born out of an interest in the subject I was studying, it was not a goal in itself. I never bought a house, and the thought of owning one terrifies me (lack of flexibility). I never wanted any children, nor did I get them, and I married because I love my wife, not because I was eager to have a family.

    I would say that I live a happy life, and a moderately successful one, too (measured in traditional terms, like education, career, income, etc.), even without major goals. Openness for new chances and flexibility, both physically and spiritually, are truly important things in life for me. I have a huge and steadily growing number of interests. But what really matters to me are things like the love of my wife, social justice, lifelong learning, and protecting the environment - all rather values than goals, which you can't really buy with money, unlike the stuff they try to sell you on every corner of every street all over the world. They are also all things which I can only influence to a small amount, so, defining them as personal goals, writing them down, would be a rather futile and frustrating effort.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not against it. I just feel that I don't fit in.

  3. Hi Carrie, these days I find myself writing down stuff other than goals in order to remember lol!

  4. Hi Cybergabi, thanks for your comments, it just goes to show that not everyone will be cut out for writing goals and yet achieve what they want in life. Perhaps my friend had a point...

  5. I'm torn because I've written down goals, and then failed to look at them again. On the other hand, I've written goals and made it a point to track and complete them. I guess it boils down to which ones you deem to be part of your 'roadmap' to success, and which are just wanna-do's!

  6. Hi Reba, you've hit the nail on the head by saying it boils down to which ones are part of one's roadmap to success.

  7. Kifayat,
    I get nothing accomplished with out setting goals. I find when I do I get even more done. When I don't it upsets the balance of things in my life.
    Great post baby girl

  8. Hi Kifayat, great points and for me they really do help me to stay focused. I have seen that on days I don't write down my goals (even daily ones), I am often very scattered and get less done. On the other hand, when they are written down, I know what task I have to do next and so naturally, they spur me to success and allows me to see how much I have accomplished for that day! Thanks for the reminder.

  9. @Jessica: I'm lost without my goals lol.

    @Diana: Me too, they sure do help me focus.