The importance of writing down your Goals

The GG and I are back at Chez Tubb today after celebrating New Year alongside my brother, Paul, and his girlfriend, Ruth, at a nice hotel near Stratford-Upon-Avon. We indulged in great food, (far too) much wine, frankly stunning (you’d be stunned if you saw it too) dancing at the “disco”, a Conga line so long it gatecrashed a nearby wedding reception, and then clapped our way along to a traditional Bag-Pipe playing Scotsman as the midnight bells chimed. Not having to worry about getting a taxi home at the end of the night was fab, but the hangover we were all suffering with today was not…

The year ahead

Thoughts now turn to the year ahead and in particular, setting goals on both a personal and professional level.

I don’t return to the office until Wednesday, so I’ll be using January 2nd to do some tidying up and some personal goal planning. I’ve got some important decisions to make over personal finances, some thinking to do on how to improve my general health and well-being, and not to forget that all work and no play makes Ric a dull boy… so some fun goals and aspirations too.

On Thursday I’ll then be sitting with one of my business mentors to talk over and decide some of my goals and ambitions for my business in 2008 – I’ve talked before about taking on new staff, growing the business and setting new targets for income, now is the time to put them in writing to work towards making those goals a reality.

Goal Setting

Finally I’ll be attending a “Cut’n’Paste” Goal-Setting session amongst other like-minded business individuals on Friday afternoon. It should be an interesting session as I always find it fascinating to hear other peoples motivations, driving forces and goals – I find they can help you to examine your own situation better.

Why write down goals?

One thing I’ll be doing for certain in all cases – any goals and ambitions, be they personal or professional – I’ll be writing down.

Why?

Well according to a Harvard Business School study, written goals can translate into earnings of 10 times more than those who fail to establish goals or put their goals in writing. In the study, Harvard graduates were asked if they had goals and, if so, were they written down? Three percent (3%) had written their goals down, eleven percent (11%) had goals but had not written them down and eighty-six (86%) had not yet established goals.

Twenty years later, they polled the same group. The 11% who had goals (but not written down) were making twice as much as the 86% who had no goals. However, the 3% who had written down their goals were making 10 times more than the average of all the other graduates… and 98% of all the wealth resided with that same 3%!

Focus on achieving goals

I find writing goals of any shape and size down helps me focus on achieving them. Review those goals often (I do a weekly “sweep” of my To-Do list to keep me “on-track”) and don’t be afraid to prune that goal list as your perspective changes – you may not feel the same way about some goals six months from now as you do today.

Finally, if you’re struggling to get started on a larger goal – “salami” it – chop it into smaller  pieces! There’s a phrase I’ve heard said before – “How do you eat an Elephant?” “One piece at a time of course!”. Don’t get overwhelmed by the task at hand, just decide upon a first action and getting that done. For instance – want to make a trip to Japan in 2008? Your first step may be getting the necessary brochures from the travel agent, so make sure you diary (or write down!) a trip to the Travel Agents during your next lunch break!

Recommended books

Two books I’d highly recommend you read in 2008 are David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”, and Karl Palachuk’s “Relax, Focus, Succeed”. If you’re not sure where to start with your goal setting in 2008 – nip over to Amazon and grab those books now – money well spent.

Conclusion

Whatever goals you set for 2008, I wish you all the best with achieving them – and as always, feel free to drop me a comment or an e-mail to let me know how you are getting on!

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