writing your goals down
Mental Health

Why Writing Your Goals Down Matters to Whether or Not You Achieve Them

It might seem a little out-there to suggest that the mere act of writing your goals down makes any difference as to whether they become your reality. But it’s actually true! If there’s a dream you want to turn into your reality, writing your goals down helps.

The Stats

You know I love those numbers, so here’s the data. Depending on which source you read, you’ll see slightly different numbers. But in general, you are up to 40% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Forbes reports 1.2 to 1.4 time more likely.

There’s a really cool psychological thing that happens in your brain from writing your goals down in a particular way: reticular activation.

Reticular Activation

Reticular activation is when you’re actively looking for something and so you see it more often.

For example, let’s say you buy a black Honda Accord. Suddenly, it seems like every single other car on the road is a black Honda Accord. You see them everywhere because it’s a more active idea in your mind.

If you write your goals down, they become more active in your mind. Your mind starts looking for ways to make them true through reticular activation!

Increasing Effectiveness When Writing Your Goals

If you want to get the most bang for your buck when writing your goals down, write them as if they are already true.

For example, instead of writing “I want to own a beach house.”, write “I own a beach house.”

When you write as if your goals are already a reality, it amps up that reticular activation. Your mind says, “Wait, what? We’re supposed to own a beach house? Lemme work on that!”

I like to write down at least 10 long term goals every morning this way.

“I always fly first class. I travel whenever I please. I have a beautiful office in a beautiful home. I run the Boston marathon every year.”

These are just a few of the goals I write every day. To me, these goals represent places in my life that I want to be. “I always fly first class.” is more than just about traveling. While flying first class is amazing, being in a place in my life where I can always fly first class means that I have a greater level of freedom, financially and geographically.

Want A Prompt?

I’ve got some free journal prompts that I love using in the mornings that include these goal setting strategies! To download them for free, just drop your email address below.