Saturday, 13 September 2014

Writing Goals Down: The Key to Success?

What is the best way to ensure that your goals will succeed? How do you make yourself believe that you will accomplish your goals and have success, as well as feel accomplished? Is there a relationship between goal completion and satisfaction?

There is no doubt that setting goals makes life easier. If you want to get a promotion, what do you do? You take the time to think about what steps you must take. Maybe you need to finish your next assignment on time. Maybe you need to get to work on time, and be more optimistic. If you are trying to improve your health, maybe you will drink more water, eat a variety of foods, enjoy an active lifestyle, reduce stress, etc. Whatever your goals are, the key is to make a plan of action. But how do you 'make' this plan?

I personally love to write things down. I find that when I do this, I see an organized plan for what I have to do, what I need to accomplish, and where I am going. It also helps me look back and see what I have done, what I still need to do, and what I have succeeded in. Interestingly, there appears to be evidence that supports that writing out goals does indeed have an impact on overall life satisfaction, task completion, and even stress levels. In one study, writing out goals and accomplishments decreased people's negative thinking and low moods (http://www.cog.psy.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/papers/2013/Teismann_WritingAboutLifeGoals_JHealthPsychol(2013-e-pub).pdf - I recommend that you take the time to read this study, if interested. You can skip to the results section if you want the quick facts about the implications!). It also reduced cortisol levels - the 'stress' hormone that is released when we are stressed. This hormone also has negative effects on our bodies when released in excess, including depressed immunity, irregularities in hormone functioning, poor concentration, and more. Within just three days of writing out goals, participants felt happier, more confident, less stressed, and more optimistic about their lives.

What is the lesson here? Writing out goals and accomplishments really does seem to make a difference on our health and emotions, as well as the perspectives we take about our lives. Of course, this doesn't mean that if you don't write your goals out, you will be depressed and unsuccessful. It also does not mean that writing out goals and successes are the ONLY ways to be happy or satisfied. However, if you should take something away from this, it should be that looking at your life with a plan or with optimism can really change the way you live. Being positive and organized can help you become more successful and relaxed.

Writing things down provides you with a plan, but also with a reference on what you have to do, as well as what your next steps are. Then, when you are done, you can refer back to what you wrote down and see what you have accomplished - and this helps you feel good about yourself, which can improve your mood and confidence. If you haven't completed all you wrote down, looking back at it will help you see what you can improve the next time around, or to see whether or not your goals were realistic and doable. Does this mean you have to start writing everything down now to be successful and happy? No. But I will ask you one thing: the next time you have a lot of tasks to do in one day, or when you have a major project to accomplish, try writing the steps or tasks down on a piece of paper, on your phone, etc. Then, refer to your list during the task, as the day goes by and you complete the things to do, or after you are done what you needed to do. And let me know how this makes you feel to see what you have
accomplished, or to see your goals achieved. I guarantee it will make a difference. You will feel better about yourself, you will feel and become more productive, and you will be more enthusiastic and positive about life. Try it, and let me know what your thoughts and experiences are!

43 comments:

  1. My weakness is I never set any goals.

    Vuk

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  2. I like the idea of setting goals but I am lazy

    Bajaj

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  3. This post taught me how to set my goals

    Cindrella

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  4. Really I do not know how can I set my goals

    Karl

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  5. My goal is to be a happy person

    Lobo

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  6. My already set goal is to maintain my recovery and be healthy and strong body and happy mood

    Anne

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  7. This study acknowledges what We counsel people to write down their feelings, emotions and what bothers them and then write down what in their hands can do to lower their stress and make them feel better .
    This helps many feel better.
    I will endorse writing goals to my clients now and when I will be working on my own

    With my humble respect

    Muhammad
    Master Psychology student

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  8. I will develop my goal with my 2015 new year resolution.


    Jasmeet

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  9. If I can set my goal to focus on my course to graduate.

    Wysnyski

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  10. My only goal is to live till 120 years

    Lino

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  11. Since I was a teenager and had stressful time ,I learnt from my therapist to put my feelings and problems in writings and then I do one page to jot down problems solving things I do to tackle the problem and finally one page to write down my strength and things I am proud of.
    This has been making me less stressed ,happier and achiever.
    I have been doing this since then.

    Jenn
    Welland

    ReplyDelete
  12. I like this idea of writing and I will set my goals to do it

    Fernandez

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  13. My goal is to stay on track and get one issue done at a time


    Zak

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  14. I love to jot down all my feeings and from now on I will write what I want done and keep going

    Magaly

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  15. I have a habbit of writing cards of all good wisdoms and hopeful optomistic messages and reading this make me feel better and able to push my day forward

    Horta

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  16. I am a procrastinator and I agree that writing down my list to do ,help me achieve things need to be done today and wait for others can be done later.

    S K

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  17. I like and will write down the SUCCESS


    Pierrette

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  18. From now on I will write down my plan and my goals and my skills.


    Raja

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  19. I am 76 and I have never write down my feelings ,emotions,or goal.
    I just go with the flow ,one day at a time and one issue ata time and has been feeling relaxed ever since I accepted Jesus Christ to my life.

    Sam Ibrahim
    Burnhamthorpe,Mississauga

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  20. Ya
    I need to write down some hints to guide my way as I feel I am a mess

    Oscar

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  21. That is exactly what I will do .

    Gavin

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  22. I like this post and definitely would be helpful for all of us to have written plan of action

    Sheila ketson

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  23. This is very important Marina .
    As I counsel my client I always give them homework ,kind of to do list on their own and
    I is helpful to have a set goal and plan of action to address all our obstacles in life whether health ,work or family related.
    Writing a plan help empower clients and improve self efficacy and motivate them to be positive and hopeful

    Kelly W
    To

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  24. It is intriguing to write my SUCCESS and keep it happening

    Mobayed

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  25. Since I was a teenager ,I have been writing my TO DO LIST including things I need to do for my wellbeing.


    Larivierre

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  26. Writing down is a key to success

    Lakshmi

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  27. Since I was young student teachers enforce learning by reading, writing and even loudly to involve all our 5 senses and may even we can involve reflections as number 6th sense.

    Solomon

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  28. I have 7 to do list
    SUCCESS


    Tambasco

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  29. I will write down
    Be happy, be happy ,,life is short, no need to bother with things that take away happiness. etc.

    Clorado

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  30. On today's new their are many had their success after age of 40.
    I am way too young and I still can make my success even before 40.
    I write my success so far and plan to make them real

    Mimosa

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  31. You Marina assisted me through this wonderful blog how to help my daughter and I was making notes and writing down lists of what I do and what I do not do and she is recovering well
    I will keep writing and takes notes

    JP( a thankful mother)

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  32. My goal that I will write down is my goal of how I keep healthy and well nourished from now on and forever

    Nanaraj

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  33. Yes I will write down my plan to finish one issue at a time and move on.
    I will not be multitask

    Topa

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  34. What I written down is your tips on one of your previous posts on how to arrest stress

    Roya

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  35. One reason I recovered is you motivated me through this blog and other reason is writing down things I need to do and not to do.

    Anne

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  36. I have written down all the benifts of complete recovery and how to maintain health and sucess from tips your reccommended on your blog.

    We love you Marina
    Keep your spirit up

    Mary
    Mississauga

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  37. My goal is written down is to graduate from my univesrity.


    Hend

    ReplyDelete
  38. My goals to keep away from smoking and any street drugs and not to relapse on alcohol adn I did write down this along with coping tips from your blog


    Carlos

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  39. I am happy with writing down tips from this blog

    Morandin

    ReplyDelete
  40. Writing down enhance our memory and relieves our tension

    Lenus

    ReplyDelete
  41. I NEED TO JOT DOWN MY TO DO LIST

    KAVITA

    ReplyDelete
  42. I think writing my goal is important to remind me to work little harder

    Gordana

    ReplyDelete
  43. My goal to success needs to be written down

    Marilina

    ReplyDelete

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