~The Third Step in the How to Reach Your Goals in Ten (Not So Easy!) Steps Series
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Do you want to do everything in your power to achieve your goals?
What if I told you there was one thing you could do – something so ridiculously easy – that would increase your chances of success by 42%?
Would you do it?
Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, studied the science of goal setting, according to Mary Morrissey in the Huffington Post. What did Dr. Gail Matthews find?
She found that you are 42% more likely to reach your goal if you write it down.
Just for writing it down.
Seems like an easy way to ensure success.
Of course, I’m a writer.
So I love writing. I’m all over this writing down your goals thing!
But what about you?
If you struggle to put your goals in writing I can help.
I have nine different ways you can put your goals in writing.
1. Write down the vision – your ideal life. What does your perfect life look like? Write this down, preferably in journal format, with as much detail as possible. Let your mind go crazy – don’t worry about practicalities and limitations. This is for your viewing only. It is for dreaming. We aren’t worried about reality here. After you write down what your perfect life looks like, expand on it. Get at your why. Why is this important? What will happen if your life looks like this? Why do you need this?
2. Write down your SMART Goal. From your perfect life, pull at least one ideal that you can turn in to a goal. Use your SMART Goal Worksheet (downloaded from Step Two in this Series: Three Dirty Secrets to Identifying Your Goal) to turn your big goal in to a SMART goal.
3. Write down your action plan. There will be more on this in step five of the How to Reach Your Goals in Ten (Not So Easy!) Steps series. But for now, just draft what you think your plan will look like. What steps do you need to take to make it to your goal?
4. Write down your yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly & daily tasks. Break that action plan down in to specific tasks for each year, each quarter, each month, each week, and finally, each day. This is a HUGE undertaking. I find it easiest to break it down to monthly, and then each month tackle the weekly. At the end of each week, I set up the daily tasks for the next week. That saves me from having to outline a whole year’s worth of daily tasks, which seems totally daunting!
5. Log your progress every day. How are you tracking your progress? What are you measuring, to be sure you are on track to reaching your goal? You determined how to measure your progress when you created your SMART goal. Write down how you are doing every day – what steps did you take today to stay on task? What steps did you fail to take? Write it down.
6. Write down affirmations to help you achieve your goal. In order to reach your goal, you need to believe you can reach your goal. Affirmations can help you do this. Dr. Ronald Alexander says this is because our minds do not know the difference between fantasy and reality.
Affirmations work because they can reprogram our mind into believing the concept we need our mind to believe in order to reach our goal. Writing our affirmations down, often repeatedly, and saying them out loud, daily, solidifies this reprogramming. Our mind believes it to be true the more we tell it that it is indeed true. So write those affirmations down, post them where you can see and read them daily. Say them out loud often!
7. Journal any thoughts, feelings and visions that you have each day towards your goal and your progress. Keep a journal. You can use it to track your daily progress, but you can also use it to write down the feelings you have associated to that day’s work. Did you fail miserably? Write it down. Get it out of your psyche. Jot down how you can do better next time. Use your affirmations in your journal. Did you succeed with flying colors? Write it down! Jot down your feelings and your vision for tomorrow. How is today’s success going to take you there?
8. Keep a written evaluation of your progress. Review your progress at least once a week. Jot down what you did well and what you struggled with. Your journal might be a good place for this. Look back at the week and see how you did. Where did you do well? What set you up to do so well? How can you mimic that next week? Where did you struggle? What were the setbacks you faced? How can you prepare for those next week? Keep track of it all in writing.
9. Adjust your action plan as needed. You may learn, through this process, that your action plan is not going to take you to where you need to be. If your action plan isn’t working for you, or if you outgrew it, adjust it. Through continuous evaluation of your progress, you will know if your action plan is realistic and achievable or if it needs adjustment.
That’s it! Nine different ways you can put your goals in writing. You don’t have to do them all – unless you are like me, and eat this stuff up. But you should try at least one or two.
If you only think about your goals, you are using only your right hemisphere of your brain, according to Morrissey. But if you write them down, you use your left hemisphere as well, connecting the two. Your right brain is imaginative, your left logical.
Pulling the two together creates a powerful new reality.
Write It Down!
Get yourself a journal. It can be as fancy as you want it to be or it can be a plain, spiral-bound notebook. Use this journal to identify your goal, to create a smart goal, and to track your progress.
Nadalie Bardo has created a very detailed planner to get you writing down everything goal-related for 2018. If you love details, this is the planner for you!
She starts with your vision, narrows it down to your goal, and gets you well on your way with a detailed action plan and the daily, weekly and monthly tasks to get you there!
Not a fan of writing? Start with your weekly to-do list!
This is a very basic daily to-do list. You start with your week, and then break it down to each week-day. List your tasks and any priorities you may have that day. There is also a section for notes – this might be a great place to track your feelings & progress.
I challenge you to use this to-do list for your goal purposes only – don’t add all of your other daily to-do’s on here. Make this all about meeting your goal.
Need some extra support? Drop by the Making Mommas Facebook Group and find like-minded, goal oriented successful women to help you out!