I like this book about achieving your goals, Write it Down, Make it Happen, by Henriette Anne Klauser. It’s filled with clever anecdotes. I particularly like the one about Jim Carrey. Before we knew Jim Carrey, he wrote a check to himself for 10 million dollars “For Services Rendered,” which he carried around for years.
I have to be honest though, it’s not based on research. But there is a great deal of research on goal setting, writing down goals, commitment to goals, and the like. We know that goals encourage persistence, energize and direct us toward getting the information and skills we need to reach them. We know that goals direct our attention toward the goal and away from irrelevant pursuits.
Here’s where writing it down comes in. When I write down my goal, things happen as a result. For example, I write down, I have 10 new coaching clients in the next 8 weeks. Writing it down doesn’t magically make anything happen. But consider what could happen. You’re reading this. Perhaps you think, oh, she wants clients. Is she any good? Maybe you’ll get in touch and get that free coaching call. If I look at what I’ve written, daily perhaps, then any time I have an opportunity to make a coaching contact, you bet it’s going to be at the top of my mind. We call it priming. The same way priming a wall gets it ready to be painted, priming our minds gets them ready to be open to a particular idea. My writing will probably be affected by looking at my goal in the morning. As a result, I’m more likely to mention coaching when I write. And so forth.
If you can think the goal through without writing it down, more power to you. Some evidence suggests that it’s not the writing but the complexity of the goal, your commitment and the SMARTness of it. We know that public commitment to goals helps us honor them. And possibly there is something to the present tense (I have 10 new clients, rather than I will have).
So consider your goals. Perhaps write them down or at least take time to elaborate them and consider the goals on a regular basis, getting more detailed about what you want and how you’re going to go about getting it. Maybe take another step and check out Klauser’s book. Oh, and consider that free coaching call you can get by contacting me...coaching holds you accountable for meeting your best possible future goals!