5 Things That Happen When You Commit Your Goals to Paper
Last week I was looking through some old notebooks and I came across goals I had written for myself over the years:
- I am an intenSati leader
- I am a group fitness instructor
- I am free from my eating disorder
- I write and publish my book
- I teach an event for Be Well Philly
- I teach fitness classes in NYC
With the exception of writing my book and presenting with Be Well Philly, I was astounded that I have actually achieved a great deal of the goals I had laid out over the years.
Then, I paged through my most recent notebook, the one I brought with me on the intenSati retreat this past March, and amongst a page of life-area specific goals, one stood out and stuck me:
I am living in my own apartment and I am financially independent by July 2017.
I couldn’t believe it. Just last Friday I signed lease papers for a 2-bedroom townhome with a den – like I’m literally living in my own apartment with financial independence by July 2017.
While this has been an important goal for me and something that has been on my mind for a while, I actually forgot that I wrote it down in my notebook while I was in Tulum. Sure, I had talked about it for months – I had talked about wanting to feel free, personally and financially. I had talked about wanting to be independent. But, I never wrote my goal down or specified a “by-when” until I was on that retreat.
If you’ve ever done any work with goal setting, I’m sure you’ve read about putting your goals on paper and how writing your goals down drastically improves your success. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California did a study on goal setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goal just by writing it down. But here’s the thing: most people, even with that knowledge, don’t bother to write down their goals. I mean, I had talked about having my own apartment countless times before but it wasn’t until I was asked to write it down on a retreat that I put pen to paper.
The discipline to writing something down is the first step towards making it happen. And while committing your goals to paper isn’t an end game, it is the beginning of something pretty freaking magical.
5 Things That Happen When You Commit Your Goals to Paper
You get clarity on what’s a must
There’s a great deal of should’s in our lives – things we think we should be doing or things we strive to attain. Or, we have a list of things we want. However, when we commit the should’s, wants and goals to paper, we can truly examine them in earnest and ask, Why do I want this? Committing our goals to paper allows us to find a clear distinction between those things that are truly a priority and feel good in our bodies and those that simply look good on paper.
It motivates you to take action
Articulating your goals is important, but it’s not enough to take you from point A to point B. In order to create movement, there needs to be an impetus. Writing your goals down sets the stage and provides you the motivational awareness to get curious about the next best steps to take. It allows you to begin asking yourself: What actions are in alignment with my goal? What are the bigger picture things that need to be done, and what can I do right now that starts that process? Who can I talk to? Who can give me insight or connect me to the right people and places?
It reminds you to honor the process
Life is hard and in those moments where challenges arise, it’s difficult to see that we are making progress. It’s easy to oversimplify and forget that there’s a process to every goal and that in order to reach our said destination, we have to honor the process in all its parts – from committing the goal to paper to revisiting and revising our goals to achieving and celebrating the attainment of our goals. Committing our goals to paper reminds us that all parts of the process must be honored and endured.
You are better able to overcome resistance
Every meaningful intention, dream or goal encounters resistance. From the moment you set a goal in motion, you’ll begin to feel resistance. As part of my onboarding for my new position at LifeTime, I was asked to think about my growth within the company and write out goals I have, both personally and professionally. While I was ecstatic to write out that I am creating and developing LifeTime branded formats and facilitating trainings to teach instructors how to deliver an on-brand experience, as soon as I hit the “submit” button, I was struck with panic – the fear of not being good enough. Since I’ve written it out, in a very public way and to higher powers that be, the internal resistance has come up. This past week I questioned my classes and my abilities. I’ve wondered if I’m just good or if I’m good enough. My point is, from the moment we set a goal in motion, we’ll feel the resistance of not having that thing. But if we focus on the resistance, the fear, that is the thing that will grow, as was my case this week. The way to overcome this resistance is to focus on the goal itself and only the goal. With the goal written out and at the forefront of your mind, the goal becomes a filter for other opportunities.
It provides a filter for other opportunities
Writing your goals down enables you to get super clear on what’s important and when you continue to revisit, rewrite and revise your goals, you further the one-track mindset. When you are only focused on the goal, when you can let go of the fears surrounding the goal, you prime your brain to see other avenues and opportunities that are in alignment with where you want to be. And eventually that pulls you into alignment with the goal itself. To be honest, having my own place was a super lofty goal in a lot of ways, even with stepping into this new position because I wasn’t content with just a small studio apartment. So, I zoned in on what I wanted, I let go of anything that wasn’t aligned with that vision and I came upon other avenues that I hadn’t even considered – and I got my place.
Seeing the goal of my apartment come to fruition lit a fire inside me. It reminded me how powerful it is to write out my goals and how vital it is to keep trusting and honoring all parts of the process.
This week, I’m revisiting some of my big career goals with my life coach – goals I also wrote on that magical retreat in Tulum – so that I can get clear on the steps I can take and the internal conversations I need to have. Trust me, when you want things and you aren’t getting what you want when you want it, it’s easy to grumble and find yourself out of alignment.
Take a moment and ask yourself:
- What are my goals?
- Have I taken time to write them out?
- Which ones feel good on paper?
- Which ones feel good in my body?
- “By when” am I achieving my goals? And, am I limiting myself on that time frame? What time frame would I like to have that goal by, if circumstances weren’t a factor?
Commit your goals to paper and write it on your heart-drive. Dream big, my friends, and dream often.