5 Reasons Why You Should Commit Your Goals to Writing

As 2013 has rolled over to 2014, there has been the usual emphasis on New Year’s resolutions. Network television, radio shows, podcasts, and blogs have all had features on the topic.

Writing Goals in a Journal

Photo courtesy of ©ShutterStock.com/ditty_about_summer

But the truth is, New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Get this:

  • 25 percent of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after one week.
  • 60 percent of people abandon them within six months. (The average person makes the same New Year’s resolution ten separate times without success.)
  • Only 5 percent of those who lose weight on a diet keep it off; 95% regain it. A significant percentage gain back more than they originally lost.
  • Even after a heart attack, only 14 percent of patients makes any lasting changes around eating or exercise.

But while New Year’s resolutions don’t work, goals do. Surprised?

The research is conclusive. Dr. 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 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.

I have found this to be true in my own experience. Here are just a few goals I have written down over the last three decades:

  • Marry a passionate, supportive wife who is committed to long-term marriage.
  • Make $100,000 a year doing what I love.
  • Lose 25 pounds and get in the best shape of my life.
  • Complete a half marathon.
  • Write a New York Times bestselling book.
  • Become the CEO of Thomas Nelson.

Of course, most people don’t bother to write down their goals. Instead, they drift through life aimlessly, wondering why their life lacks purpose and significance. I am not saying that committing your goals to writing is the end-game. It’s not. But it is the beginning.

The secret to accomplishing what matters most to you is committing your goals to writing. This is important for at least five reasons.

  1. Because it will force you to clarify what you want. Imagine setting out on a trip with no particular destination in mind. How do you pack? What roads do you take? How do you know when you have arrived? Instead, you start by picking a destination. The same is true with the milestones in your life. Writing down your goals forces you to select something specific and decide what you want.
  2. Because it will motivate you to take action. Writing your goals down is only the beginning. Articulating your intention is important, but it is not enough. (This is where I disagree with Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret). You must execute on your goals. You have to take action. I have found that writing down my goals and reviewing them regularly provokes me to take the next most important action.
  3. Because it will provide a filter for other opportunities. The more successful you become, the more you will be deluged with opportunities. In fact, these new opportunities can quickly become distractions that pull you off course. The only antidote I know of is to maintain a list of written goals by which to evaluate these new opportunities.
  4. Because it will help you overcome resistance. Every meaningful intention, dream, or goal encounters resistance. From the moment you set a goal, you will begin to feel it. But if you focus on the resistance, it will only get stronger. The way to overcome it is to focus on the goal—the thing I want. Steven Pressfield’s book, Do the Work, is must-reading on this topic.
  5. Because it will enable you to see—and celebrate—your progress. Life is hard. It is particularly difficult when you aren’t seeing progress. You feel like you are working yourself to death, going nowhere. But written goals are like mile-markers on a highway. They enable you to see how far you have come and how far you need to go. They also provide an opportunity for celebration when you attain them.

Goal-setting is so important that I have created an entire course about it. It is called, “5 Days to Your Best Year Ever.” More than 2,000 students have already enrolled in the course and are well on their way to creating an extraordinary 2014.

The good news is that the first three videos are free. Even if you don’t enroll in the course, these videos will help you clarify what you want and give you a leg-up in designing your best year ever. You can find out more here. Check it out.

Question: What experiences have you had in committing your goals to writing? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Get My New, 3-Part Video Series—FREE! Ready to accomplish more of what matters? 2015 can be your best year ever. In my new video series, I show you exactly how to set goals that work. Click here to get started. It’s free—but only until Monday, December 8th.

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  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    I have done this often too.  I know it’s a little trite, but I like to use the acronym “SMART” : Goals have to be Specific, Measureable, Articulate, Realistic and Timely.

    I think the most important one is “Measureable” … it’s a nice goal to say “I want to spend more time reading my Bible” but it’s a measureable goal to specify “I will spend 30 minutes each morning reading my Bible”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree. It is important to create SMART goals. I always include a date “by when.” Thanks.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        I agree…I think that is important!

      • Tommy McMahan

        John Mason, in his book, An Enemy Called Average, stated that a goal is a “dream with a deadline.” I always try to include timeframes of 30, 60, 90 days and 6 month and 1 year…but I can get a little OCD with this…

      • Earth Lover

        Michael, thank YOU so much for your responding to my message, I was unable to access my comment and hence I’m posting my gratitude to you…

    • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

       Adding a deadline is what transfers the idea from a “dream” to a “goal.” SMART goals are definitely the way to go!

      • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

        I have used this method on occasion as well.  Certainly hleps to keep things focused.

      • Anonymous

        Adding a deadline. Very smart!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Dave, that is so true. If you can’t measure it, you can’t tell if you’ve achieved it. I’ve found it hard to make some things measurable. But if you can break it down to that point, it sure helps.

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        Good point.  A lot of times our larger goals are made up of smaller goals and it helps to ‘break it down’ – making the larger goal seem more attainable.  As well, noting the smaller goals and celebrating those victories can help us stay on track for the larger goal.

        • Joe Lalonde

          Thanks Steven. I see it a lot like Dave Ramsey’s baby steps. Hope it helps you!

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            I just thought of the theme song! :)

    • Black Austin

      Great answer sir.

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    While I don’t always write my goals down, I do frequently pray and meditate on them–it seems to work because I’ve met most of my goals (get married, have a big family, write a book, etc.)However, sometimes God springs unexpected opportunities on us that aren’t on our lists of goals. I know this personally! Back in 2002, just as I was considering setting the goal of writing more and sub-teaching less, God suprised me with a teaching job offer out of the blue. So, I guess the moral might be set our goals, but remember God may have a different idea. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I totally agree. In fact, I wrote about this here: “Don’t Leave God Out of Your Plans.” Thanks.

      • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

        Maybe I should start writing my goals down–I do have my students write about their goals all the time. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, do I?  ;-)

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    I, like Patricia, have prayed much about my goals. However, I only began writing them down in the past few months and really did it out of a desire to have them visible before me. What I have not done is go back and look at them, reviewing and updating them. Sounds like I need to carve out some time on my upcoming vacation to do just that. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Shan Sri

      Hey Patricia, its like 3yrs have passed. what changes n challenges have you noticed?

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Committing our goals to writing has unique advantages. I have experienced that in my life. First, it comes as a great reminder daily. During my schooling and college days, I used to write down my goals in specific  terms (like score/percentage to be acquired in my exams, etc) and place them at prominent places in my home — my study room,  my study desk, my mirror, and in other places. That was a great energy booster for me. I used to read repetitively my goal statements after I wake up from the bed every day to remind myself of my destiny.
    Whenever I see those goal statements in my home, it makes me aware and conscious of my path to be traveled. This practice assists me to move towards my objectives without unwarranted deviation and in the process I become more accountable to achieve my goals.
    Thanks for the fantastic post Mike!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      This is a great way to do it, Uma!

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks Robert!

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      That is a great way to do it! I always need to write down my goal for a test. Most of the time, I reach it. I write mine down on a 3×5 to carry with me…(http://bigb94.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/3×5-method-for-achieving-goals/)

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Brandon, this is good advice. Thanks.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        3×5 ia a great method! Thanks for sharing.

    • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

      I do this at times to.  I use a washable marker on the bathroom mirror.

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        I like the washable marker idea. I hadn’t thought of doing that on the mirror – definitely a prominent place to see the information; plus, a great reason to draw in a place that would normally not be expected.

        • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

          I have a stainless Steel fridge and we use dry erase markers on it.  for goals and updates.  and Shopping list.

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            That’s awesome!  We have lots of stuff stuck on our fridge with magnets – my wife lives by the calendar attached to the fridge.  But, the dry erase marker thing just sounds like fun :)

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            I agree.  I might just have to “upgrade…”

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Great idea! I’ll do it on my front door instead though! :)

    • Joe Lalonde

      Uma, I really like the idea of posting your goals in prominent places that you can see them. A visual reminder is great.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Yup! I worked for me. Hope it will work for others too!

        • Joe Lalonde

          Great to hear Uma. Glad it worked for you. It’s something I think I want to get into the habit of doing. Before my wife and I got married, she used to write down scripture on index cards and place them all over the place. She hasn’t done that in quite some time, as far as I know. I think it’s something that we should start up again.

          • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

            Just go on Joe! You will end up memorizing 52 memory verses in a year. I am finding this techique very useful.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Great stuff Uma.  If we write down our goals and then never look at them, the effect of writing them down wears off and we are back to just having the goals in our mind.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        That true Steven! I reminded of the old saying, ” Out of sight… out of mind”

        It not deniable that something is easily forgotten or dismissed as unimportant if it is not in our direct view.

  • Timothy Fish

    I don’t think it is correct to equate not writing down one’s goals with drifting through life aimlessly. Everyone has goals, whether they write them down or not. I’m all for goals, but the fact is that we don’t have as much control as we would like to think. I look at your list of goals and see a lot there that many of us can’t control. If we are doing what the Bible says and putting God first, those we have even less control over those goals. Look at Job. His goals could have been to have more livestock and for his children to be successful. He lost both his children and his livestock.  And Paul wanted to go to Rome. He went to Rome alright, just not the way he probably thought he would. But God’s ways are higher than our ways. It is good to write down goals, but as long as people’s primary goal is to serve the Lord, the other goals aren’t really that important.

    • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

      Timothy, while I understand your point, I know I can use “God” as an excuse for not trying to live a directed, focused life. No doubt that God’s way are higher than my ways – he has a plan mapped out for me every day on this earth. I believe God wants us to set goals. Sure, he can change our minds, but I still think goal-setting is powerful.

      Charles Stanley (preacher) teaches about goal-setting by using the old testament account of Abraham sending his servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac. It is a perfect outline for setting goals.

      I follow your line of thinking, but I do believe that we can be too “spiritual” at times. God desires the best for us and, I believe, goal-setting is one method of moving toward our best.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think it has to be either/or. But I agree that God’s plan supersede our plans: “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). I have written about this here: “Don’t Leave God Out of Your Plans.” Thanks.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        That is one of my life verses…! I always have that as my email signature because it reminds me and others of how God’s plan is everything!

    • Maureen

      I agree with Timothy. I find goal-setting to be painful and frustrating, based on past experiences of having lofty goals that never materialized no matter how much I wanted them to – and other goals that I did achieve that led to heartache and broken relationships! And yes, both the met and unmet goals were made while I was a Christian trying to discern God’s will for my life. When I relax and focus on following God in the moment rather than setting my own goals and striving to achieve them, I am assured that I am living in God’s will. I find that the way His will unfolds in my life isn’t nearly as grandiose as I would like it to be, but I’d rather be in His will than writing my own plan for my life.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Making/writing goals and following God’s leading are not mutually
        exclusive. You set your goals in conjunction with God’s leading. Also, not
        achieving goals is also sometimes part of God’s plan. We make goals in the
        knowledge that “Man plans his path, but the Lord directs his steps.”

        • Maureen

          I think I’m discouraged. I look back at so many goals I had as a young person, and even despite writing things down and “working” the goal, I’ve achieved very few. I’ve also pursued goals I thought were worthy, only to have them crash down on me – I was obviously out of God’s will. My response has been to stop dreaming or setting goals, although I still have a wistful list in my head – things that would be nice to do someday, but I hold out no hope that they’ll actually happen. I’ve focused instead on trying to discern God’s short-term will for me, hoping not to step out of it and miss His plan. Trying to set goals “in conjunction with God’s leading” is difficult when I don’t really hear anything from Him about what He wants me to do any further down the road than tomorrow!

          • Dana Crosby

            I understand how you feel. I used to be very bold about the things I hoped to achieve and when they didn’t happen in the timetable I originally had prescribed, I felt like a failure. As a result, I have felt nervous about putting my goals down because I have been afraid of failing again. What has helped me is to take my big dreams and break them down and post the smaller daily “to do” list. I just become a worker bee, doing what needs to be done. After all the highest mountains are climbed by putting one foot in front of the other for enough days in a row. 

            It does take a leap of faith to write the bigger goals down and post them. I had to start by posting them without a date. But then, I found that I wasn’t really working toward them, I was just hoping they would happen on their own. When I finally put a date on my 3 x 5 cards posted around the house, my brain started working out how to attain my goals. I also think the process of writing over and over again is good for the brain. For example, in school (in the old days) they used to have kids write a hundred sentences, i.e.  “I will not pull Suzy’s hair….” However, I turn this technique to the positive, for example, “I am a Regional Vice President…”(rewritten to fill a whole page.) Though I currently am an Area Manager, I think we have to “be” the part before  we actually get the title. This approach helps me to think the party. Even marathoners, and olympic competitors know the power the mind has on performance and so they will train their minds strictly. 

            As far as wether it is godly or not to set goals, I  pose some questions. Does God have a plan? Is He not a planner? Are we not made in His image? Also, how did Joseph prepare for the famine if not to make a plan and stick to it? Chris Widener puts it this way, “Most people live life like a paper cup in a parking lot.” And you know they are always complaining that the wind didn’t blow them to the right corner of life. But I would rather that instead of paper cups, we were sailors, and that we would take the same wind that God provides and harness it for greater good! 

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            I’ve had a lot of goals that I didn’t achieve, too. Sometimes they were too
            big (goals have to be achievable); sometimes they WERE out of God’s will,
            and I just wanted to go out on my own, achieve my own things. However, like
            Jonah, God always has a way of bringing us back. I’m sure Jonah didn’t
            intend to go through the ordeal that he went through, but God sure taught
            him alot in the process.

            Sometimes I think of goal-setting as a refining process. We set out goals,
            but we constantly acknowledge that God is in control of our lives, and if he
            wants to change the direction of our life, he will.

            Also, I’ve come to realize that sometimes God has us go in a certain
            direction to teach us something, before he sets us on the path to our
            ultimate destination. Sometimes he has us go through a trial in order to
            refine us, so that we will be ready for what he has for us later on.

          • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

            I can relate to what you are saying, Maureen. I went through a period in my life when nothing seemed to work out. My goals seemed like they were impossible to accomplish. Then at a Toastmaster’s conference back in 2004, a speaker came up to me and asked me one simple question…

            “What time is it?”

            I didn’t know what to say.

            He looked down at my name badge and asked again… louder this time.

            “What time is it, John?”

            I mumbled out… “It’s time to get started.”

            I realized right then that I had been living my life in the past… or in the future. 

            My diet, exercise, or work related goal always started… tomorrow.

            I always had some excuse why I couldn’t do something based on something that had happened in the past.

            As I looked up, the speaker made the point that the only time I could do something was today. And the only time I could take action was now.

            I wrote some 90 day goals down right then and made up my mind I would take action on a daily basis.

            My life changed…

            For years I thought that God was going to perform some miracle in my life, that the job I really wanted would somehow magically appear, or I would find some secret weight loss formula to lose 30 pounds. What he taught me that day was to have faith and to take action. One day at a time. 

            Here is a daily worksheet that might help… http://goals4u.us/dAnx5U

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Beautiful story, John. I love the question the speaker asked you.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Why make it either/or? I believe God reveals His will to me as I pray, seek him, AND write down my goals. If I am moving in the wrong direction, I trust Him to correct me and bring me back on course. He has been faithful to do just that.

    • Payton English

      First, I’d like to say not all of us believe in god. Let’s be honest, if you don’t have it written down you’re more likely to forget it (just like your grocery list for example), or not do it (chores as another example, or homework, and other tasks). It’s proven that writing down goals increases your chance of achieving them.

  • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    Committing goals to writing really does make you more intentional about your life. Although, while it does help you overcome resistance, I’ve found there to be new resistance once goals are set. It’s so important to get good at identifying resistance and killing it each and every day.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Amen. I totally agree with you.

  • http://twitter.com/pamcain Pam Cain

    A timely post for me.  I used to have very tangible, written goals in my 20’s and 30’s and was successful in reaching those goals.  In the last 10 years, however, I have fallen away from the practice.  Although I’ve been able to have a successful business and personal life during those years, my life doesn’t seem to have the focus and flow it used to.  It proves that setting goals, and writing them down, is a lifelong process.  I think it’s one of the ways we live up to our potential of how we were wonderfully created by God.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good point, Pam. I always want to facing forward, expectantly anticipating what God still has for me.

  • http://emuelle1.blogspot.com Eric S. Mueller

    I often seem to get off track on my goals. I either set them too high or too far outside of my own interests or abilities. Not sure why. I’ve read the majority of the popular books on goal setting. Does it ever get easier to set goals?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think so. I always like to set mine beyond what I can easily accomplish. I wrote on this in “Six Keys to Achieving Big Goals.”

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        I remember that post! And I think it is important to set high goals! A quote I am reminded of says:

        “Shoot for the moon, but if you miss, you will land among that stars.”

    • Tmcclain42

      I’m reading a really good book on that now…you have to think about who you are, what you’re good at, your temperament, and the like when thinking about the vision for your life.

      Think about where you want to be, how you want to be remembered, and work backwards. Your short-term goals should always be pushing you towards the ultimate vision that God has given you for your life. –awesome book so far, I’ve got a few chapters left (Stairway to Success by Nido R. Qubein).

      It may also help to get some mentors involved in the process.

      If you’re in the Michigan area, my church is actually having a faith-goal class this week. I am so excited!

      Take care!

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    Great points. I think that goals focus our lives.

    I love the quote from Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through
    the Looking Glass, who asks for directions in this way during her encounter
    with the Cheshire Cat:

    “Would you tell me please, which way ought I to go from
    here!” she asks.

    “That depends a good deal on where you want to get,” the cat
    replies with a grin.

    “I don’t care much where,” she answers.

    “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” the cat responds.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have often used that quote in goal-setting seminars. It is excellent.

  • Melissa – Mel’s World

    Every year my husband and I take the week between Christmas and the New Year to get away just to think, dream, plan and create. We’re both in ministry and this week seems to always be a great time to do that…after months of planning and preparing for Christmas at the church we are tired and ready to rest, but there is a sense of excitement as well which makes it a great time to put those dreams and ideas to paper.

    I love your 5 reasons to do this, but had to stop and really read through #3 Because
    it will provide a filter for other opportunities…I don’t think I ever let this one sink in, until now. That’s so incredibly important to remember…it’s not the bad stuff that keeps us from the great stuff…most times it is simply the “good stuff” that keeps us from the great.  Thanks for the reminder!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I usually use that same week for goal-setting.

      And you are right: “It’s not the bad stuff that keeps us from the great stuff…most times it is simply the ‘good stuff’ that keeps us from the great.” Thanks.

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    I’ve had great success writing down my goals this year.  One of my goals this year is to have a day of rest with my family.

  • William Kracke

    For me, the golden nugget of advice in this post came in the last paragraph: “Don’t over-think the process. Just get something on paper and refine it as you go.”  I find that, for me, the tendency is toward perfectionism when it comes to productivity systems. I need to have all my GTD contexts neatly figured out, how I will track my time, a fully synchronized calendar, and an easy 23.5 step method for setting and achieving goals. 

    It hasn’t been until very recently (read: last week) that I recognized the value to just getting started and refining as you go. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.? Absolutely, unless that will keep you from writing them down, right now. Define your sub-projects? Absolutely, unless that will keep you from writing them down, right now. Fill out the 3 page spreadsheet that auto-plots your every action for the next 3 months? Well, now you are just being silly…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I laughed out loud at your last sentence. It is indeed possible to over-plan. In fact, all of us probably know people who are forever planning and never executing. That doesn’t work so well either! Thanks.

      • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

        I am one of those people.  I plan and plan and think of contigency plans, but then when I go to execute the time for that goal has passed

  • Dr. Frank Buck

    Composing an annual “Christmas Newsletter” to send to friends has been a tradition for many years. A few years ago, I composed in *January* the letter as a wanted it to read the following December, threw it in the tickler file, and read it as it surfaced each month. It was uncanny how what was written and reviewed came true. It’s a practice I have continued ever since. More is here: http://bit.ly/mEyIIH

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a great idea! Thank you.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      My family always does something called a “Jesus stocking” at Christmas. We write letters that let Jesus know what we want to do for Him in the next year and everything like that…every Christmas/ New years (depending…), we open up the old letters and read them.

    • Annemarie

      Thank you! I have thot of having a All Saints Day party asking friends to read what they hope will be said of each other. It sounds morbid but could include testimonies and encouraging feedback.

      Christmas letters come sooner to measure the outcome of our plans. It is my responsibility to count my days for this year and seek wisdom, mercy and grace to plan each day, week, month. This discussion has helped me a lot at a crossroad in my life and ministry. May God be glorified. Thank you all!

  • Sherri

    This is so important – especially the point about meeting resistance. Very relevant for me right now, as well. I am working on a goal of establishing a non-profit ministry to support projects that will address specific needs in my rural community. One of the ways I would like to promote this and recruit others who would like to be involved is by having a blog that talks about Christian service and a lifestyle of service, and encourages discussion and mutual encouragement for any Christian who is trying to find their place of service. I am NOT techno-savvy at all so even starting a blog has been a huge challenge for me. I even bought Blogging for Dummies :) to try to learn a little more about it. I finally managed to get my blog started this weekend. It is very simple and will change as I grow into it, but if I had not had the goal of communicating in this way to support my primary goal of community ministry I would have stopped very early on in the process. Having your goals in writing certainly helps you stay focused when the resistance you meet is YOU! :)  Thank you for the post. The timing was perfect!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great. I am glad about the timing! Thanks. (And good for you to start blogging!)

  • http://www.paulbevans.com Paul B Evans

    Goal setting for CLARITY is my #1 reason for writing them down. I can think I’m clear, but writing down the goal reveals gaps.

    And I love “Do the Work” and “The War of Art” by Pressfield. Both express exactly what creatives face and how to fight the resistance. Powerful. :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I plan to read Do the Work again. It was so powerful the first time through. Thanks.

  • Dave

    I rewrite my goals daily, sometimes twice a day in the present tense, as if I already accomplished them. I am training my brain and heart. David Konkol

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have written my goals in the present tense—sometimes even in the past tense. Both have their own unique power.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Interesting…haven’t thought of doing that before?

  • http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com Cynthia Herron

    I get excited about writing down goals! Your observations were all great, and I especially enjoyed #5. When I first began jotting down goals, I’d make a list and then put it away for a time. As I matured, I realized that in order to see my progress it was important to review my written goals on a regular basis. It was a way to hold myself accountable, and like you said, Michael, it gives us cause to celebrate when we’ve attained them!

  • Marc Donaldson

    Experience… little to none. Heavier on the little. But I am working on that, and I am committed to doing the hard work. Action takes action. My goals for today (I’m at Annual Conference):

    Fully participate.
    Initiate conversation with 5 people, 3 of whom I’ve never spoken to.
    Eat a meal with with colleagues I rarely see.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      I like your 3 goals. For me, #2 would be pretty easy because I can talk to anyone about anything! :) I guess it is just one of those gifts God has given me!?

  • Marc Donaldson

    Experience… little to none. Heavier on the little. But I am working on that, and I am committed to doing the hard work. Action takes action. My goals for today (I’m at Annual Conference):

    Fully participate.
    Initiate conversation with 5 people, 3 of whom I’ve never spoken to.
    Eat a meal with with colleagues I rarely see.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mrsstephanieljones Stephanie L. Jones

    Thanks Michael!  Not only do I have my goals written down, but I keep a copy of the current year’s goals posted on my wall, taped to the inside of a notebook that I keep with me every day, and a copy in my wallet. I remind myself all throughout the day.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Keeping them visible is huge. Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://fireandhammer.blogspot.com Dennis

    Having read your blog for some time now I am not surprised to see a post on writing goals. What surprised me were the goals you set for yourself, in particular your second goal on the list. In the past I would have argued with you over such a goal but recently God has set me free of a lot of bad thinking and false views of what it means to be a Christian. I realize I have struggled when it comes to writing down goals because I am afraid to make those goals big and specific. I was afraid that it was presumptuous to make big goals. I now know I need to prayerfully set goals and not be afraid to stretch beyond myself as long as I do so in surrender to God.

    Thank you for sharing this post.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Dennis. I know lots of people who struggle with this kind of thing. I always think, What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t achieve my goal. And in the process God might just direct me to a different or better goal.

      Thanks for sharing so transparently.

      • Dennis

        I have never asked myself “What’s the worst that can happen?” I think I have been afraid to do so. Again this goes back to a faulty view of Christianity and of God. As a codependent that worst was often very painful when I was a teen. But now I know God is not like what I dealt with in the past. You are right: the worst that can happen is I don’t achieve my goal. God has said He will work all things for my good.

        Thank you for helping me better see the glory of God.

  • http://Busyness.com Dr. Brad Semp

    Hey Michael – thanks for outlining an important set of “motivators” for written goal declaration.  :)  Of course with my platform….#2 is the creme de la creme in my book.  Taking action is not only necessary but also must be intentional and proactively designed (rather than simply letting life happen).  It’s also great for folks to see the range of goals that you set as there really isn’t an area of life that is protected from goal-setting.  From spiritual to health to business to relationships….you’ve covered them all.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Brad. I try to set specific goals in each of my life plan “accounts.” I find this keeps me balanced and intentionally addressing every area of my life. Thanks again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/arnim.schneider Arnim Schneider


  • http://jancoxabetterway.wordpress.com Jan Cox

    This is very interesting. When I worked in a “job” I did make goals. Now retired I don’t. I guess it is time I rethink this. I have been listening to God and have been doing what I believe I am called to do but actually writing down goals – no.
    Thanks for this post.

  • http://sheliamullican.com Shelia

    Great post, Mike! For me, numbers 3 and 4 are most essential. It is difficult for me to say no to opportunities that, while valuable perhaps, do not service my goals. In fact, they will steal time from them and become resistance themselves. Articulating goals in writing gives me a clear measure against which to evaluate, and helps me to say no with confidence.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great post, Michael. I agree with you on writing goals down. It helps us formulate a plan and clarify what we want. But just as important as writing goals down is where you write them. I believe that you need have these goals written down where you can see them throughout the day. 

    I have a goal setting toolkit on my blog that allows you to write down your goals and take them with you wherever you go. The secret is to print them out on business sized cards, which you can display on your desk, your computer, or even tape them to the dashboard of your car. The toolkit has cards for long term, short term, and daily goals and prints out on standard Avery card stock. Your readers can download it for free here. http://goals4u.us/cVAurj

    Having your goals where you can see them will keep them “top of mind,” and allow you to take action as you go through your day.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      “Having your goals where you can see them will keep them “top of mind,” and allow you to take action as you go through your day.”

      I agree with that statement!

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Yes, putting them around the house, and everywhere where you can see them
        often is a great help!

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon


    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great, John. That is an excellent point. Thanks for sharing the link to your toolkit. Great resource!

    • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

      Thanks so much for sharing.  And @mhyatt:disqus  thanks for allowing such open sharing of tools from the outside.  I see too many blogs, companies, etc. trying to keep out anything that is not from them directly.  You truely allow community here. Thanks.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        That is true!

    • Joe Lalonde

      John, thank you for this resource. I will see if it will fit into how I’m doing goal setting.

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

    This is absolutely true to make sure you commit your goals to writing. As soon as I started writing down my goals, I saw that I was able to start striking them off my list as I accomplished them. No matter how small or insignificant they appeared, it gives you a sense of accomplishment by just knowing you completed a goal. This is HUGE.. Now I need to see how Evernote works for me. I need to set a goal to read and implement each one of your blog posts on it, and share it with my blog readers.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Let me know if you have any questions about Evernote, Lincoln. Also, the Evernote forum is a great resource. I am learning new stuff every day.

  • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

    Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been hosting the 3in30 Challenge. I’ve been challenged to write down my goals (on my blog as well as in my planner) each month and the challenge has provided the accountability and encouragement I need to work on my goals. I recently read that a goal is simply a dream with a deadline, and the 3in30 Challenge has helped me to put deadlines on my dreams! {P.S. The 3in30 Challenge starts “fresh” each month, and we’d love to have you all join us!}

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love the definition of a goal as “a dream with a deadline.” I have used this when teaching on this topic.

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    Great stuff! I always try to write them down on a 3×5 card. I wrote about that reason here: http://bigb94.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/3×5-method-for-achieving-goals/

  • Kelly

    Hi, you mentioned in this post that “this is where I disagree with…[from] The Secret? You say you are a Christian…the CEO of a major Christian publisher…yet your reference her book. I’m surprised, very surprised. Was that the only part you disagreed w/her – intention/affirmations  vs that PLUS taking action? That’s it?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      No, I disagree with her whole premise. But this wasn’t a critique of her book. (That would be off-topic.) I was talking about intentions. That was the specific issue I was discussing.

  • http://stephenalynch.tumblr.com Stephen Lynch

    Reason #3 is HUGE – filtering is the right word too. I used to think of it as “saying no” or “turning down” other opportunities. Filtering lets the other stuff pass while we hold onto what we’re set out to do.

    And it kicks in well before you’ve experienced success. It helps in the beginning stages too. It helps prevent us from chasing every “great idea” we come up with.

    Great post – looking forward to making progress on my goals this week!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Amen! A big part of my life recently has been turning down opportunities
      that have come along that don’t fit in with where I want to go.

  • http://twitter.com/Juanbg Juan

    Great post Mike,
    I have been writing my goals every year for the last 10 years, I have grown since as a person but I also realized this is a journey, and that makes my life exciting.

    I cover Spiritual, Mental, Physical and Social as the core, from there I add goals short term, medium and long term. Long term are my Big Rocks.

    I could not live without having goals and aspirations, there is so much out there to do and to live.

  • Curtis

    As I read this this morning I was struck by one goal…to write out my goals…and that alone feels challenging.
    I was also struck by the notion that it is important to choose wisely the people with whom we share our goals. I once had a stated goal that before I died I wanted to have recorded a record and published a book. The first three people I shared that with, people I respected who were “mentors” of a sort at the time, told me that was a pretty audacious target and I ought to shoot lower.  I’ve been in the recording studio since, and submitted to publishers since, but I’m not sure if that goal has died of if I’ve given up on it.
    Great encouragement to reexamine this morning Michael, thanks!!!

    • Anonymous

      You’re alive.  The dream hasn’t died.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Curtis, you should definitely go for it—or get new friends. I like goals that create a chasm that I don’t know how to cross. Those are the kind that cause you to rely on God and get creative!

  • C.H. Dyer

    The most challenging of goals for me, as a Christian leader, is to “Lead someone (insert name) to Christ”.  It enhances my prayers for that person, keeps me spiritually alert and in God’s will for my life.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      What other spiritual goals do you set for yourself?

  • Lynnehartke

    I went back and forth for 2 years about stepping down as worship leader where I had served 16 years (a little complicated because I was married to the pastor!) because I felt God was calling me to spend more time writing. At a retreat the speaker asked us, “What is one area in your life that you’d like to change? Write down one step you can take today to make that change.” I went home and began the process.

  • Joe Lalonde

    I’m new to the goal writing thing. However, I’m finding it pretty helpful. My wife and I wrote some goals down earlier this year and it really helped me to clarify some things. It has helped me get into the habit of exercising(down 25 lbs since March), given a direction towards some of our giving, helped set up a running schedule, etc..

    It is still awkward to me to write my goals out but it is getting easier and I can see results. I’m hoping to be able to continue to do this and get some great results.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      That’s awesome, Joe! I need to set some exercise goals…

      • Joe Lalonde

        Thanks Robert. Just write them down and get at em. Once you make it a habit, it’s easy to keep up, almost addicting…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for this testimony.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Michael, you’re welcome. Though I should be thanking you. Due to yours and a few others blogs, my life is changing. I’m getting healthier, stronger, more educated. You’ve been a great inspiration to me.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    My favorite thing about writing out my goals is the chance to reflect back and see what God has done. Sometimes there are things that I write down that God goes way beyond what I could have imagined, and then there are many other times that there are things that I have written down and never accomplish them and am able to see why I wasn’t able to do that and sometimes the positive of not accomplishing that goal. 

    It is a great way to review and remember. I am working now on my life goals to encourage steps forward

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I like that aspect of goal-setting, too.

  • http://twitter.com/Caleb_Phelps Caleb Phelps

    This really is a powerful step in reaching goals. Whether on paper (mostly post-its), in evernote, or sharpie on a napkin I find this step to really give weight to the thought itself. Once on paper, the thought becomes tangible, it exists. After it is recorded I feel like I have taken it much more seriously. Then it’s game time!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree. It is the process of bringing forth something new into the world.

  • Maureen

    How does writing down your goals line up with waiting on God to hear what He wants to do with your life? I could write down all kinds of things I’d love to do with my life, but I have no idea if those are the things that God would have me do. (And many years of waiting for God to reveal to me His goals for my life has resulting in never knowing more than the tiniest next step.)

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Discerning God’s will goes into your goal-setting process. Once you’ve
      discerned what God wants you to do, then you set out goals to achieve that.
      Listening to God and making goals for your life are not mutually exclusive.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You might want to read John Eldredge’s book, Desire. Basically, he argues that the map to God’s will is embedded in our desires. Too often we pit these against one another. He’s not talking about the base or even sinful desires we might have, but our best aspirations.

  • http://www.paulawhidden.wordpress.com Paula

    Michael, years ago a friend suggested I write in detail a description of the man  I wanted to marry.  Fearfully I wrote and edited a 32 point list.  The man I’ve been married to for the past 13 years fits every item listed.  It helped me to see the beautiful tree in the midst of the forest and choose the best camp ground. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I did the same thing with Gail. I had two pages of attributes I wanted. I felt really weird doing it at the time. I thought, No way. I will never meet a girl like that! Well, I did. We have been married now for almost 33 years.

  • Jeanette Sullivan

    One of my goals is to write a book a year for the rest of my life, along with other teaching articles. As for other goals, the Lord has given me part of the big picture as to the direction He wants me to take, but He has not given me a time element or the details as to how to get from here to there. It is requiring that I seek Him daily for new direction and it requires waiting for Him to open doors that are not presently open to me. So far, it has required a lot of prayer and preparation time, and a lot of waiting on Him. Instead of writing a list of goals, I keep a journal and write down where I am in my physical life, in emotional life and in my spiritual life. I often go back and re-read past entries to remind me of the direction I am going and how far He has brought me along the way.

    • Maureen

      I love your line about keeping a journal instead of writing a list of goals. That seems to work better for me. You are so right that often God doesn’t reveal all of the big picture to us, nor the time frame or details. If we run ahead of Him and start writing down goals WE would like to achieve in our life, we risk missing out on His perfect will. We risk becoming self-promoting instead of doing as you are and praying, waiting and preparing. 

  • Anonymous

    My first experience with writing goals out came about 17 or 18 years ago.  I started using the Franklin Covey Planner and started to fill out the section on goals each year.  In time, I added a mission statement which I refine yearly.  Each year, I review my mission statement and focus on any changes, deletions or additions I need to make.  Once I have that done, then I start to brainstorm and focus on big picture goals that I have in life.  At that time, I start to focus on the parts that I need to do to obtain the goals and start to put the projects in my system to manage.  Each week I review my mission and goals as I plan the week and set up task that I need to do.  Then each morning I review my mission and task at hand.  I find that this helps me to keep focused and helps me to execute my goals.

  • http://www.insidepages.net Stephanie Smith

    Writing goals down holds me accountable. Usually, I write short-term goals that are within my reach, and jot them down on post-its notes which I put on my computer or desk as a constant reminder. Thanks for the post and tips!

  • http://tomraines.wordpress.com Tom

    Great message. I do it from time to time but I fail to review them regularly. I even set up an alarm this time to go off on Sunday evenings to review my goals. Unfortunately I dismiss it each time and the next thing you know it is six months later and I am still where I was. Thanks for the reminder to pull them out and keep them intentionally present!

  • Robert Nigro

    I know some people, including myself, who “drift through life aimlessly, wondering why their life lacks purpose and significance. ” I’m working to change this, and trying to remember to “maintain a list of written goals by which to evaluate these new opportunities. ” People, generally, especially people with children or facing eldercare responsibilities, get pretty good at dealing with the “urgent” in front of them, not the important, which seems far-off and perhaps unattainable. But I have surprised myself how much gets done toward goals with just a few minutes’ work a day. Yet you need that plan to follow, otherwise, I find, things get too nebulous to bother working on now, or today, or this week, and then years go by and the goals become “I could have, I should have.” Like I said, I’m trying to turn this situation around in my own life, and starting to have a little success. Thanks for this timely reminder on setting and sticking to goals. I discovered your blog about a year ago, and find myself re-posting entries to my Facebook friends and members of my writing workshop on a regular basis.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Roberts. I appreciate you re-postin these entries to Facebook.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000045950823 Carla Marvin

    Writing down goals is a great way to attain what you want out of life.  At the beginning of every year I have my writing group make a poster with their writing goals for the year on it and tell them to post it in their favorite writing spot. This way they can glance at it from time to time to remind them what they are working towards.  We also reevaluate our goals a couple times throughout the year and check to see that we are all on track.  This has helped our group go from being a bunch of people who want to write but never make time, to being a committed group of writers who have actual manuscripts completed or almost completed. 
    Writing it down helps you visualize it as a reality…one thing I personally do on my goal poster, is put pictures of my goal next to the words.  This really enhances the visual!   
    @dhearn3:disqus –Love the SMART idea!!

  • http://www.love-laugh-learn.com Deanna

    Even though I’ve been inclined, I’ve  hesitated and struggled about writing out my  goals for  a  salary  or  a career position.  

    Now I feel free to write them down.  

    Thank you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wonderful! I’m glad you did.

    • Anonymous

      I too have struggeld with that.  I have often felt like it was prideful to write that type of goal down.  But then I realized that it my goals are rooted in my mission and that is aligned with God’s word that if I am blessed with meeting those goals, it only goes to help futher God’s work in the word.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    As is often true, your post will percolate inside my head for awhile and then I’ll apply its wisdom. Yesterday I hit a long (very long, excruciatingly long) goal to weigh 175 pounds (I think Reagan was President when I last weighed that little). Yes, cork bottles are popping all over town today! Diet, non-alcoholic, of course.

    Three things to note. 1) I wrote my goal down (but I’ve done that before). 2) I took action (I’ve done that before as well). 3) I had a clear map (LoseIt.com). That map made all the difference in the world. I could see on a daily basis exactly where I was. The small wins became big ones. And I made it.

    Your post today suggests I can take those three things–a written goal (destination), a map (direction), and concrete action–to realize other goals in my life. And that’s where the percolating begins.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Excellent breakdown. I wish we could create a kind of LoseIt app for all our major goals. I lost 20 lbs. with it this year. Gail lost 25. Awesome.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        I’ve wondered how we could develop a practical site like LoseIt for developing spiritual disciplines–i.e. prayer, Bible study, service–for folks like me who need targets and guidelines to move forward. For example, how would your Life Plan work as a template for such a website?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I actually have someone who has approached me about creating an app for this. I haven’t responded yet, but I am intrigued by the thought.

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            If you write it down, map it out, and take action, let us know how it goes. :-)

  • Andrea Altenburg

    I do this all the time. It is also good to show someone your list to hold you accountable to it. I found that writing a professional blog regular commits my goals to work more freelance. Just knowing I had better have something to blog about keeps me marketing my business.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I read a study once (I think by the Harvard Business Review) that sometimes,
      when people announce their goals, they often are LESS likely to achieve
      those goals.

  • Ginger Tabot

    I’ve been writing music since childhood and have always intended to pursue writing music on a more professional level, but it wasn’t until last year after my youngest daughter started preschool that I really felt prompted to get some of my music recorded and out there for people to hear.  I recently discovered an old list of goals that I wrote out in college. One of them was: “I want to write a #1 hit song.”  At the time I wrote that, what I was thinking was a #1 song according to radio charts and the money and recognition that comes with that.  But now that I have grown up, ;-) this goal means something different to me.  I have had friends and listeners share how a particular song of mine has had a meaningful impact on their life.  Often with tears in their eyes, they have said something like, “That song is the only thing that gets me through the day.”  I now realize that inspiring and encouraging just one person’s life in such a meaningful way is worth far more than any Nashville recognition or amount of money.  My modified goal would now read: “I want to write songs that leave a forever impression on those that hear it.”  Realistically, this is the more difficult goal, but immeasurable in its significance.  Finding this old goal and reevaluating it has caused me to be all the more driven to write with excellence!  In case this story has piqued your interest, you can check out my music at:  http://songsofhope.com

  • Lkfischer

    I work outside most days and I keep a small notebook in my back pocket that I use daily.  I include my goals inside the front cover of the notebook so I am reminded of them whenever I open this notebook.  I go through a notebook about once a month so I will rewrite the goals in a new notebook each month.  I usually get to cross one off and come up with a new one.  There is also a goal that has been there for a few years, get out of debt.  Thanks  Michael!

  • Anonymous

    This is fantastic advice. I haven’t done this in a while. Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions this year – which i don’t normally do anyway – I wrote a list of my accomplishments in 2010. What a list! It was awesome! And it encouraged me so much to see that, yes, in fact, I did have many great accomplishments. Now I will make my list of goals because I need them. I know them in my head but maybe there are some that need to be written down and read regularly :) I know my next writing goal is to finish my novel and publish it. I already achieved publishing my first book this year, now let’s make it two :)

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    My experience is that after committing my goals to writing, I always made a list of steps I must take to achieve them. One of the steps, inevitably, involves financing. And that’s the step where every dream ends, and every goal falls apart. In the end, alas, my life is and always has been about scraping together enough cash to pay the bills. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      My experience is just the opposite: money follows vision and commitment.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

        It does indeed, except that in my experience the actual amount of money is so small and the workload so overwhelming, that in the end, year after year passes by just chasing after the buck with little else accomplished except breaking even (in my lucky years).

        Needless to say, my goals in life aren’t where the money is, realistically speaking, so what I do for a living at any given time is necessarily unrelated to my goals, and then I’m left with the good old mantra that if I really wanted to achieve those goals, I would find a way to finance them. Ergo, I must have picked the wrong goals.

  • http://www.christopherneiger.com/blog Chris Neiger

    I wrote down some modest goals a couple months ago and have already met several of them. It really has been motivating! Thanks for the reminder to update them, I’m going to do it today!

  • http://twitter.com/levittmike Michael Levitt

    Writing down the goals provides a reminder to re-focus on what you felt you needed to do, when you wrote the goals down.

    Put the goals in a place you will see (and actually look) daily.  There are things on my desk that I don’t see, even though they’re right in front of me.

    One goal suggestion for everyone is to be present.  Live in the moment.  Don’t spend time worrying about the past, or worrying about the future.  


  • http://www.facebook.com/graham.bates Graham Bates

    On a different note (and with permission from Mr. Hyatt),
    I am a student at Fuller Theological Seminary and am taking a class looking at how the Church can use Social Media to Improve its Witness and Discipling. I am looking at the education sector of the church and how people perceive the use of online content (blogs, podcasts, etc.) vs. in person content (sermons, classes, etc.) and if these are ever merged. I have put together a survey (http://edu.surveygizmo.com/s3/549691/Social-Media-and-Spiritual-Development - shortened to http://bit.ly/j6FTlI) – and would like you take 5-10 minutes of your time to give your thoughts. 
    If you do not have time, please reply and tell me if you ever take what you learn here to your local church. Why or why not?Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/doughalcomb Doug Halcomb

    By committing my goals to writing it has helped me clarify what is a goal and what is an objective (or desired result).  I believe that a goal is something that I can somewhat control by my actions and an objective is something that I want to see happen by I cannot control as it depends on the response of others.  For example, wanting to see my church grow in attendance by 100 people is an objective and inviting 100 people to attend my church is a goal.  I often see people setting goals that are really objectives and they are setting themselves up for failure as the outcome is not something that can control by their own actions.  Objectives are important as they help us figure out the goals we need to set to move towards that objective.  Every time I write down a goal I ask myself: “Is this an objective or a goal?”  

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    “Because it will provide a filter for other opportunities.” This reminds me of one of the seven life statements from “The Traveler’s Gift”– in fact, the stickiest statement for me (stickiest meaning the one that’s hardest to forget/easiest to remember). “I have a decided heart.”

    On certain issues, I have a decided heart. I don’t swerve from the path. I remember an opportunity that was offered me a few weeks ago. I turned the offer down because its time conflicted with something I already had prioritized, a decided-heart issue.

    I appreciate your explanation which helps orient life and its decisions, both major and minor.

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Excellent points. #1 has by far been the most challenging in my life. I also find that it changes over time. At first that threw me. That’s because #1 was the hardest question I faced. And when I found it changed, I questioned myself. You see, facing #1 causes you to answer questions about YOU.

    Not about what people think you should be or do. It’s about YOU. It’s about who YOU are, what YOU want to do, and what YOUR goals are. For so many of us, we get caught up in what we do, and who we are – based on external factors.

    It’s not a TRUE YOU. It wasn’t a true me. Once that #1 is decided and firm, the next points are easier to answer because you’re looking at it from a real position. May sound like an identity crisis. Maybe so.

    It’s easy for any of us to get caught up in a herd mentality – not making decisions or goals on our own. But over time, as my relationship with Christ grew, I could see my decisions, desires, and goals make more sense as they were rooted in faith. It’s a process for sure.

    But I’m willing to step out on a really long and thin limb and say that there are more people living unaware that the life they live is more for a brother of another mother (someone else) than their TRUE self.  :)

    I would encourage anyone who hasn’t committed to writing out your goals – specifically with the points above – try it now starting with #1. It’ll change your life.


    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Mark, awesome insight and comment. In a way, I think maturity is more about becoming the real YOU, the unique individual that God created you to be. So many people are content to live someone else’s story rather than live their own. Thanks.

      • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

        Thanks, Michael. As a kid (and even young adult) I remember taking on my friends’ personas – not really knowing who I was. I came to the realization that I wasn’t living my own life. Got REAL sick of that. Which led me to the only thing I knew to do to combat it. Write out what I like. What I held valuable. What I wanted to accomplish. I agree. It’s a maturation process. In some ways, still living it.

        I really appreciate what you do here on your blog. I’ve never been drawn to another blog like I am to yours. Feel a real connection here for some reason. Maybe it’s a common value. Maybe it’s your cool layout. Maybe it’s the people who are all here sharing. Probably a combination of all of it.

        Either way, I believe you’ve got something special here. But I have been thinking. You must spend a lot of time on this thing. You comment to a large number of people who post. I think that’s awesome. Shows you love this outlet and you love these people. God bless.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    “Because it will enable you to see—and celebrate—your progress.” Earlier you responded to my story with a success story of your own in relation to weight loss–20 pounds, you, 25 pounds, Gail–and I missed an opportunity to celebrate with you. I will drink a diet A & W in celebration of your successes this evening. Congratulations to both of you. Well done and thanks for bringing me along for the ride. It’s been a good one.

  • http://twitter.com/jvworldvision John Volinsky

    Great words Mike.  Like you I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. I gave this post to my 16 year old and he came back with three goals for the summer (read the Bible everyday, drink less soda and run a few times a week).  We are working on defining them and getting them into an everyday schedule.  Thanks for this practical post – very helpful.

  • http://hopefulleigh.blogspot.com/ HopefulLeigh

    Writing our goals down defines our lives.  I made a 31 Things Before Turning 31 list and had such a blast checking things off that I made a 32 Things list (http://hopefulleigh.blogspot.com/p/32-things-before-turning-32.html).  Some are small goals, like visiting a certain place, while some are big, like writing 5 chapters of my novel.  I think after this I’ll just make a life list!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Leigh, I really enjoyed reading your list of goals :)

    • bethanyplanton

      What a great idea! My fiance and I made a similar type list. We made lists of what we want to do in the city and area we live in now before we move to Alabama in the fall. And when we actually do them, we are taking pictures. It is fun to look back at those adventures. 

  • Anonymous

    Writing my goals certainly makes them more of a reality for me versus having them rattle around in my head. Also, sharing them with close friends makes me accountable to get up and turn the ink into action. Thanks for your inspiration to go back over that list. 

    • bethanyplanton

      Accountability and support are definitely key in achieving your dreams. 

  • http://sevensentences.com Geoff Talbot

    I did this everyday for the period of 12 months… first thing in the morning I wrote out my vision statement and my goals… it was really good in one sense. I definitely gained clarity.

    I did however start to wear a lens of my life being all about me and my dream and I did succumb to thinking that everything was about “positive thinking”

    I want to start to do this thing, to avoid a lack of inertia but at the same time I want to keep the humbleness of faith. Any suggestions?

  • http://twitter.com/criznale Crystal Renfrow

    This is a great post! I’m curious though…what were the action steps you took to make #2 and #6 from your list above happen? This is where I struggle in my goal setting which is understanding and knowing what action steps to take. If you have already written about that before, can you post the link again? Thank you. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have not written about this. I will consider that for a post, however. It’s probably too much for a comment. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I have always had goals in my mind of what I want to accomplish but last year I decided to write them down.  So far this year I have achieved more than I thought I would at this point.  It sometimes creates anxiety to have my goals written down and know that I might be behind, but that often motivates me to keep putting one foot in front of the other when the going gets tough.  Thanks for the encouragement Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You just nailed one of the great advantages of having written goals. They keep me going, too, when I would otherwise quit.

  • http://www.walkwiththewise.wordpress.com Gail

    I find that writing my goals, even putting them up where I regularly see them, doesn’t motivate me to action. They can actually end up being a demotivator, becoming a constant reminder of what I’m NOT achieving.
    However, some of the things I would have put on my bucket list, should I have ever written one, I have created opportunites to fulfill and they were never written down.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think there’s a real difference between goals and a “bucket list.” (I have both.) I think of goals as something I am committed to achieving by a certain date (God willing). I think of items on my bucket list as something that I hope to accomplish before I die. This is similar to David Allen’s Someday/Maybe list. Thanks.

  • bethanyplanton

    I like how writing down your goals also helps you measure your progress. In life, we go through all these experiences day after day, but we don’t always look back to see how they all add up to where we are now. In writing down goals and tracking our progress, we can see how God has used us and been in our lives. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Amen. So true.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    This is so important! 

    I’ve been outlining my goals every year since I started in youth ministry, 20 years ago.  Those were mostly yearly goals.  I’ve recently started looking more long range as well as cutting my goals into monthly and quarterly “bite-sized” pieces.

    I can’t express how important this has been in my life.

  • Anonymous

    I developed the habit of writing my goals down and it’s been one of the greatest habits of my life. Now, anytime I get an idea, I write it down, even if it’s on the corner of my paper or in a random document.

  • Anonymous

    I just convinced a group of people I work with to sit down and work on goal setting in lunch and learn style setting at work.  Now if I can only convince them to sign up for Michael Hyatt’s new letter so that they can get the free Life Plan book, maybe we can walk through that too.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      There are SO many people to whom I would love to say, “Why are you floating
      your way through life? Make some goals! Get your life on track!”

      • Anonymous

        The sad part is that there are so many people that I know that would like “whatever.”

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          This is true. Most people react to life, instead of proactively planning
          for it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a fun thing to do together as a group. I am doing it with my Mentoring Group now.

      • Anonymous

        How do you come up with your Mentoring Group?  Do you invite? Or are you asked?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I posted an invitation on my blog. I received 43 applications. I then picked eight men. One of the requirements was that they had to live in Nashville.

          • Anonymous

            Interesting.  Do you make changes?  How often do you rotate people?   Or do you even rotate them?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I intended to do a new group every year. However, we rolled the last group over. We are continuing. I am not sure what we will do next year.

          • Anonymous

            I read the post from where you set it up.  If you do it again next year I would like to apply, but I will be knock by my oldest son.

  • Virtual Agents

    Writing down your
    goals, “real goals” in life is a smart thing to do. Some people
    tend to forget their real goals in life, so one way to keep it mind would be
    writing it down, it would really help you focus on the goals you really want
    to achieve.

  • http://www.inteliwise.com Virtual Agents

    Writing down your
    goals, “real goals” in life is a smart thing to do. Some people
    tend to forget their real goals in life, so one way to keep it mind would be
    writing it down, it would really help you focus on the goals you really want
    to achieve.

  • Anonymous

    Timely message for me, thank you. When my daughter, who will be in 5th grade when fall rolls around was in kindergarten, her teacher had her students write out 3 goals for each quarter. Then the kids would strive hard to achieve these goals. It made parent/teacher conferences fun to see the steps her 5 year old self had taken to accomplish her 3 goals. 
    I think Mrs. Johnson is on to something… :) 

  • http://www.publishedauthors.net/robsargeant/ Rob Sargeant

    Hi Mike,
    You should find this interesting as it involves World Vision and running. June 4th I’ve registered to participate in The Great Walk. This is a 62 km (40 mile) one day pledge run/walk on Vancouver Island. The route follows a winding logging road between the towns of Gold River and Tahsis. Over 150 people are registered to take part. I’ll be running/walking the distance to support World Vision, and have written a short blog about my commitment to do it here:

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’ll bet that will be beautiful! I love Vancouver Island.

  • Simon


    Have you ever written on the steps you have taken, in the area of your professional targets, to reach your goals?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have. You can search for goals in the search box in the upper-right-hand corner.

  • Anonymous

    You mention that you put your goals in Evernote, but I did not see anything in your set up on organziation that shows goals per se.  How do you put them in Evernote and how do you ensure follow up/neck action steps being taken?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      They are in my “Personal” notebook with the tag “goals.” I then transfer them to Nozbe as projects for deadlines and next action items.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for letting me know.

  • http://change.me Oleg Sinitsin

    I think of my schedule as a constant battle of Urgent vs. Important. If I don’t intentionally plan my time Urgent tends to win. Goal setting to me is the art of managing Important.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SaraRassler Sara Jane Rassler

    I know you’ve posted about goals before, and I’ve read at least two or three books about goal setting, but I’ve never taken the time to write down my goals. I keep thinking that “someday” I’ll sit down and actually think about the goals in my life and write them down. Today still isn’t “someday” but it’s one day closer to then. Thanks for the post, Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you!

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  • http://wewannado.com Ryan Knight

    It’s always crazy how much writing down goals helped. I recently got the Life Plan eBook from Michael and going through that has helped me focus better on my goals. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it.

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  • http://everydaysnapshots.com Dave Anthold

    I have found that when I write my goals down (or even tasks for that matter), I am much more likely to achieve them.  When I was coaching, we began the year with writing down a dream goal & a reality stretch goal.  Every week, sometimes more, we reviewed them.  Each workout was geared towards achieving our goals.  In the end, we hit the reality stretch goal about 90% of the time.  It works.

  • http://ashleyscwalls.wordpress.com Ashleyscwalls

    Over the past 3 months I have actively written down my goals, including action steps and continued to monitor the progress. It has been amazing!!!!! I would truly encourage this for anyone.

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  • http://twitter.com/GoalsOnTrack Harry Che

    Great advice!

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  • Danieljmacintyre

    I am working with a half a dozen clients on a goal commitment assignment and the method I’m using is one of the best I’ve ever worked with. I first learned about it from a book by author Steve Chandler. The human brain has the ability to commit to anything, but it will only do so if it believes there is great value in the commitment. We commit to all sorts of things on a daily basis! Did you brush your teeth yesterday? Did you where a shirt to work today? Of course you did! Why? Because on a subconscious level you are committed to these actions. 
    We never make excuses for these activities. You never hear someone say, “Well, I was really busy this morning so I forgot to put a shirt on.” However, you do hear people say, “I got really busy over the holidays so I stopped going to the gym.” We commit to the things that we value! We must attach our new commitments to something of value or we’ll never keep them. Here are a few examples of commitments I’ve made and a few I’ve helped my clients make.
    Stay on my workout plan for 30 days. If I don’t I’m dropping out of college. This client values her education more than anything and would be devastated if she had to quit school.    
    Quit drinking or I will present divorce papers to my wife. This client loves his wife and kids more than anything and knows it’s the only way he’ll stop drinking. Losing his family is the worst thing that could ever happen to him. He has signed separation papers that now sit in his work desk. He will present the papers to his wife if he takes one sip of alcohol.
    Sell 50,000 books by October 14, 2012. I wrote a check for $263,000 and it hangs on the wall in my office. I will cash the check next October, so I better start promoting my book.
    Author Napoleon Hill talked about burning all bridges in his legendary book Think and Grow Rich. I finally get it! Once we’ve decided what we want, we must burn all bridges to retreat. We must put it all on the line. Our minds/brains work very well when they’ve committed fully to something.
    I wrote a book about the achieving goals, and how to enjoy the process of reaching goals. It’s called Anything is Possible: 91 truths about what is possible for your life. Please check it out at: dreambigpublishing.com or Amazon.com. Best of luck!

  • Fadiageorges

    i believe in Jesus Christ ,,,,because his the only one that he is real,,, and that is true because he will speak to us not like the other those things that people made or create by there imagination.  so i will spend my life just to sacrifice for him ,,,,or perish in his name… 

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  • Bernie_cole

    Your five reasons for committing goals to writing are like my mantra. It’s great advice explained succinctly. I set myself what seems like a lot of goals and yet I rarely become overwhelmed when I give myself this kind of advantage. I use an online goal organizer that takes care of all five points. I brainstorm my ideas so everything becomes clear, I arrange every goal into simple checklist of tasks that are easy to follow (helps motivation and overcomes resistance), it’s a network so other opportunities are constantly coming my way, and it has a journal for me to record my thoughts and, yes, celebrate my victories. I agree, writing goals down is vital.

  • http://twitter.com/mharck080890 lhezt

    i love writing because it is the best way to express your feeling. you can also set your goals in life through writing and follow it step by steps. with this, you can simply follow what you have planned until you achieve it =)

    will writing

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/D6YVUVQFSLTTPEMRAUSBVYOLHQ debra

    I am resetting some of my goals since watching the video called “Attacking Your Goals”. It brought me some new perspectives on what I used to do some time ago.  I must admit I got off track. Kinda of shooting from the hip!  I have read some of the recent post and I like the acroymn “SMART”!  I know God is doing a new thing in my life and I are looking forward to the newness.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/D6YVUVQFSLTTPEMRAUSBVYOLHQ debra

    I am resetting some of my goals since watching the video called “Attacking Your Goals”. It brought me some new perspectives on what I used to do some time ago.  I must admit I got off track. Kinda of shooting from the hip!  I have read some of the recent post and I like the acroymn “SMART”!  I know God is doing a new thing in my life and I are looking forward to the newness.

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  • Sharon

    Great advice. I find that I accomplish more if I set goals.  Thanks

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  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    Each member of our family took time to write down our goals for 2014. We printed them out and posted them for everyone to see. Writing these things down and sharing them with our family helps us move towards action and success as a family. It should be a great year!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That is awesome, Jon. Good for you in leading the way!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Nice. I love how you’re doing this with the whole family. Such an important life skill for your children.

  • http://lucychenfineart.com/ Lucy Chen

    Michael, this year is actually the first time I’m committing to a goal in writing – inspired by you and Chris Guillebeau.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Lucy. That’s awesome!

  • Zach Bohannon

    Just over 2 years ago I lost 115 pounds and have been able to keep it all off because a) I didn’t diet. I changed how I viewed food and exercise and adapted my life. And b) I wrote down realistic, tangible goals. Doing thst really forces you to focus on what you want to accomplish and howyoiu are going to get there. Great blog.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That is an awesome accomplishment!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Well done, Zach.

  • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

    Thanks as always for your tremendously valuable input. The course you offer was really helpful.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Wayne. That means a lot coming from you!

      • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

        Absolutely. I especially loved the WHY question that gets us through the “messy middle,” and I’ve already started my “push” goal to get the dominos falling. :-) By the way, I sent you a guest post submission that ties in well with your course. Not sure if would work for you, but it would be an honor. Thanks.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          I haven’t seen the guest post, but Trivinia might have intercepted it. I just told her I want to see it. Thanks.

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    Why is it that the thing that can make the most difference in accomplishing something significant is frequently a very small act (like writing down your goals)?

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Isn’t that the truth!

  • http://www.deblange.com/ deb lange

    Dear Michael, yes writing visions, goals and action plans is one critical aspect of bringing them to reality. I enjoy your posts immensely. I thought you may like to hear of another way to enhance the possibility of fulfilling on our goals. Yes, visioning and writing are very important and so is using all of our senses to embody our visions and goals. I wrote about this on my blog recently. I hope you are Ok with me sharing it here. I also include speaking and acting as if I have already achieved my goals as a critical strategy in bringing my visions to reality. I believe “we” are still opening up to learn and create fulfilling lives from all dimensions of our humanity body, mind and soul. I say this as we have been so dominated by linear, rational, logical thinking that when we open to possible strategies that include the non-rational, sensory physical, imaginal and spiritual realms of our human existence our possibilities for what we are able to create expand even further. http://www.deblange.com/embodying-vision-2014/ Thank-you for sharing so generously.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Deb. I look forward to reading your post.

  • http://www.softskillsforhardjobs.com/ Jim Ryan

    I put them in Evernote, then have task in Toodledo.com to check them daily and refine tasks associated with them.
    Thanks for hooking me up with Evernote.

  • http://www.setongod.com/ Joshua Tolan

    This reminds me of a book I read entitled, “Soul Print,” by Mark Batterson. While he does write some on goal-setting, he stresses the importance of writing down life events that define you so you can find your identity in Christ.

    I have found that throughout times in my life, when I write on a regular basis of what needs to be done I am more successful. Even when it is things I need to work on Spiritually!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Writing down major life events is key to understanding your personal story/narrative and living intentionally. It also helps you to see exactly how God has been working in and through your life. Nothing delivers a dose a perspective quite like that.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Last year I made my goals public, I wrote them on my blog. As the year went on, I would have readers check in and ask me how I was doing? It was a little nerve-racking but in the end just what I need. I had 5 main goals and in the end I lost 133 pounds, I ran 658 miles, I had my first published book it book stores, I spoke in 6 different countries and our family got one-way tickets for our move to Hawaii in April. Writing them down works, and if you want some extra accountability, make them public!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Holy smoke. That’s quite a set of accomplishments. I knew about some of these but not the others. I can’t wait to see what you do in 2014. #BestYearEver

      • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

        The sky’s the limit Michael! I’m grateful for the amazing content you and so many others provide to help so many.

    • http://zechariahnewman.com/ Zechariah Newman

      It has been awesome to watch you Kimanzi! You are an inspiration. Totally agree with making your goals public.

      • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

        You’ve been a great friend during this time!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Kimanzi—133 pounds is incredible! Really amazing!

      • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

        Thanks Barry :)

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      AMAZING. Way to go, Kimanzi!

      • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

        Thanks Michele :)

    • Jim Martin

      Kimanzi, this is wonderful! This also encourages me in my own goal setting.

      • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

        Let me know if I can help in some way!

  • http://zechariahnewman.com/ Zechariah Newman

    Very true Michael. Writing goals down has to be done. They need to be SMART goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This is where a lot of people including myself sometimes go wrong.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yep. I discuss this at length in the Best Year Ever video I link to above.

      • http://zechariahnewman.com/ Zechariah Newman

        I will check them out. Thanks Michael!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Zech—me too. Out of those 5 which do you find the most difficult to implement once the goal has been set?

      • http://zechariahnewman.com/ Zechariah Newman

        Berry the part where I struggle is a combo of realistic and timely. I underestimate what I can do in the long-term and overestimate what I can do in the sort-term. I often get into trouble trying to conquer the world in a day. How about you?

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          Oh—man, you and I would definitely have that in common! I think I struggle with making a task time bound and really finding the internal courage to keep that commitment. This can really be challenging when you work alone and nobody really knows if you don’t reach a time goal—except you!

          • Jim Martin

            Barry/Zechariah, so glad to read your comments. I am with both of you regarding with the time component of this coupled with the discipline/realism needed here. Thanks.

          • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

            Jim—good to know we aren’t alone!

  • http://expertnicheacademy.com/ Carol Mortarotti

    This is a great post Michael. Writing down your goals puts them out to The Universe but you need to take daily action. I have been writing a yearly goal list since I was 11 years old and it helped me stay focused on what I really wanted to achieve. I also keep an index card on my nightstand that has my goals and affirmations on it and read it before I go to bed and when I wake up. I always look forward to your articles, thank you for all that you do for us to help us live the life we design. Happy New Year!

    • Jim Martin

      Carol, I like the frequency in which you read through your goals. Reading about your habits reminds me that I probably am not doing this enough.

  • Denise_Brouillette

    I’ve done this for the past 14 years and doing so has kept me completely focused on what matters to me. The key for me has been to articulate just a very few goals (up to 3) that are right for me (and not the goals that someone else thinks I should have!) and that link both to my values and the longer-term vision I have set for myself. Magic happens when I do this!

  • http://acoupletravelers.com/ acoupletravelers

    great stuff! I like to write my goals in an email and then boomerang them to myself every month to make sure I’m getting a constant reminder.

  • http://inpursuitofhappiness.net/blog Britt Reints

    #6 Because it works.

  • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

    To help us set meaningful goals, we created a family vision statement a couple of years ago. We included our purpose, prioritize core values and vision for 7 areas of life. We have our vision statement framed and posted in a prominent place in our home.

    When we set family and personal goals we have a blueprint. We wrote our family and individual goals at the end of Nov. Even my 8 yr has a written goal. We keep our goals, a copy of our personal, marriage and family vision statements and dream images and lists in our vision book. We review our vision book monthly as a family to see our progress or lack of.

  • Deborah H. Bateman

    Thanks for sharing this post. I, too believe that it’s important to write your goals down and revisit them from time to time to keep yourself on track. In fact I wrote an article several years ago that I have revised and republished this year called: Write the Vision, Make it Plain. If you’d like to check it out, the link is: http://deborahhbateman.com/articles-written-by-the-author/write-the-vision-make-it-plain/
    Deborah H. Bateman

  • http://www.thesocialsyndicate.com/ Michael Naughton

    Goals require: Commitment. Completion. Closure. Writing them done is a surefire way to get there. Thanks Michael!

  • http://chaos-control.mobi/ Dmitriy Tarasov

    Love the preparing for a trip metaphor.

  • Kirbie Earley

    I’m a firm believer in this, in fact I’ve blogged about it myself and I use goal setting as part of a first step in innovation. I too go for SMART goals. I went through your Life Plan again earlier this week and am planning tomorrow to do some goal setting to go along with it – be more specific about some of the things I wrote in the plan. I’m charged up for a GREAT 2014!

    • Jim Martin

      Kirbie, your comment reminds me of how motivating it is to invest in goal setting at the beginning of each year. The process really does help me to be excited about 2014.

      • Kirbie Earley

        It charges me up too! Unfortunately it got pushed to tomorrow. I have 3 infant granddaughters who are all very sick with various stuff right now and the bulk of my day has been on helping them out. Meanwhile, they’re banging around in my head though! Tomorrow we will be snowed in so no excuses! Good luck!

  • Earth Lover

    Happy New Year to you Michael!! Hope you had a supernatural holiday season with fam and friends! I clicked on that page to view the three videos but it seems to have disappeared… http://michaelhyatt.com/bestyearever.me

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m so sorry. I left out part of the URL. It is fixed now. Thanks.

      • Earth Lover

        Michael, no need to apologize. Thank YOU so much for fixing the problem and I can now view the video… I’m only now able to access the internet as my computer was infected :( – but all fixed now :)

  • http://firstthingsproductivity.com/ Brandon Vaughn

    There is something mystical, almost magical about writing things down. It’s not so much about time management, or creating an awesome “to-do” list that simply makes us feel guilty if we don’t get every single thing done.

    Rather, I find it is more about clearing my head, truly identifying what I want, and setting my intention.

    I’m actually diving into a series based on Neil Fiore’s Now Habit book in which I discuss ways to overcome procrastination and get moving. This series is found at http://FirstThingsProductivity.com

    Michael has posted some great information in this new series of his. I just come back to feeling that writing things down are more important than many of us realize.

    Besides Michael’s course and Neil Fiore’s Now Habit book, I would recommend picking up “Write It Down, Make It Happen” by Henriette Klauser. I hope to do an online bookstudy/podcast on that book sometime this next year.

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Writing out goals creates order in the mind and an orderly minded person can achieve astounding things.

    Thanks Michael!

  • http://personalsuccesstoday.com/ John Richardson

    It’s so frustrating to see people come up with the same resolutions over and over. Sounds like your course is doing well. Nice to start the year off on a positive note!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, John. Evidently, this is a huge felt need.

  • Prash

    Thank you for an inspiring post. I have been putting off a personal publishing goal, but now am energized enough to pick it up again: http://leadinglions.wordpress.com

  • http://SourcesOfInsight.com/ J.D. Meier

    I find that it’s the “making sense” part of writing something down that makes it stick.

    Related to writing, there’s even power in paper. There was a Scientific American article on the subject:

    “Studies in the past two decades indicate that people often understand and remember text on paper better than on a screen. Screens may inhibit comprehension by preventing people from intuitively navigating and mentally mapping long texts.”

    I think that’s the key: understanding, remembering, and the mental map of our goals that we internalize.

  • http://www.myaspergers.net/ steveborgman

    Michael, thanks for talking about the importance of writing goals down. I remember hearing Brian Tracy talk about the importance of not only writing our goals once, but repeatedly, even on a daily basis. And he encourages writing by hand, as there seems to be a connection between handwriting something, and the part of our brain that remembers and activates the needed action.

  • http://about.me/rishabh Rishabh R. Dassani

    If you don’t write your goals, you can’t measure your progress. And as the late Peter Drucker used to say — what gets measured, gets managed.

  • Jeremy Fidelis

    I have a problem with even starting a goal as the year progresses, I am left blank and just get by especially at work. Can you please give me a few tips how to take the first step…thanks.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill


      What is your why? Whenever I am not feeling motivated I must remind myself what my “why” is? especially when they are tasks that I don’t particularly enjoy—but I am the best person for them… having a clearly stated “why” I am doing this help. What is at stake? this is just one way that might help.

  • Yolanda Clay Triplett

    Thanks for keeping me encouraged and empowered. This post just reinforces what I am pushing with The 100 Day Smart Goal Challenge. You have to put your goals on paper. The visual can be visited and help you focus.

  • Dan Erickson

    I am one to rarely put goals in writing. I make them as I go and it seems to work.

  • Laura Hartman

    I find that I can remember things better after I’ve written them down, especially if I write them by hand rather than on the computer. I’m less likely to forget what I said my goal would be if I write it down, and it gives it a sense of permanence so that I don’t keep changing it.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    This idea has literally changed my life. Thanks for teaching it to me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jeff!

  • Janica Bianca Canlas

    I took all down onto my journal. I’ll leave a comment here before 2014 ends. Thank you for the thoughts. :)

  • http://leadright.wordpress.com/ Brent Dumler

    Love it. And if you blog about your goals (or constantly make them public on social media), you gain instant accountability. People are bound to ask you about your progress. I’m doing this in a couple of different ways and am so excited for 2014. Thanks, Michael.

  • Dee Fit

    Aren’t some of the goals on your list actually considered desires since they are out of your control? Goals can be measured and attained. Desires are simply things you hope and pray for like marrying a passionate, supportive wife.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, you could argue that. They definitely aren’t SMART—a distinction I learned later in life. My course goes into that in detail.

  • http://lifesignatures.blogspot.com/ Lawrence Namale

    I love number 1 and number 5: There is just something ‘magical’ about the relationship between the brain and a pen to produce clarity on paper. Having a dream in the head is not as powerful as crystalizing it on paper. For number 5, I love it when we track our progress. The whole of 2013, I could tell you exactly at what % I really ‘lived’ each month. Thanks for sharing. Awesome post.

  • Tammy Setzer Denton

    I’ve written down my goals and posted them on the fridge for more than 30 years. I don’t accomplish all of them every year, but I come close. Being on the fridge I see them every day and stay on track. My friends and family also see them and encourage me along the way. I’ve kept almost every list over the years and review all of them on the rare occasion. I can now laugh at a few things I thought was important when I was younger. By reviewing all of them, I figured out some bad habits (like credit card balances) had to go. I kept writing down, “Pay off credit cards”. I would do so, but every year that goal made the list. I eventually got rid of all credit cards. Problem solved. Weight loss was another repeat offender. Instead of dieting, I now try to just eat and live healthier. I really believe in writing down my goals. I also believe in working on them every day and reviewing the whole, both past and present, each year.


    Dave Hearn, because I love GOD, and want HIS word to be active in my life, reading it daily is the most important goal of all, and your example has really inspired me, thanks, GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!

  • http://growing4life.net/ Leslie A

    I love number 3! I never thought of that before but how true!

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ the Old Adam

    I did write down my goals!

    I just forgot where I put them…

  • http://dougrasku.com/ Doug Rasku

    Thanks for the post, Michael. I just did a challenge about this on my blog. Great stuff.

  • Metz

    Committing your goals to paper. I have read one comment earlier that without writing on paper, others become completely frustrated about tons of small things that they need to do. In addition, it is a key to success. Well, I had to agree since that person got a point.

    Hmn, by writing our goals on the paper, as what you have said, it will force you to clarify what you want. It will serve as a guide. Nice post!

    I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the IM social networking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

  • http://onourshoulders.blogspot.com/ Drew Petty

    I totally agree! Writing things down is so important. When I write my goals down, it feels like “to do” list mode where I am determined to get to “check that goal off.” Over the last 3 months I have been writing my goals down and prayers and circling them every day (taking a lesson from Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker). Writing them down has continually kept them in mind and allowed me to take steps towards getting there. And I have seen results! I’ve started my own blog (onourshoulders.blogspot.com), got accepted into grad school with a full scholarship, and have seen God seriously move in my life in praying for friends and family members and finances!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Wow, Drew!! What a great testimony to the power of written goals!!

      • http://onourshoulders.blogspot.com/ Drew Petty

        Yes! Thanks! Like I said, writing your goals is important! I’m committed to pursuing the dreams God has given me and keeping them before me continually!

  • http://www.davecosta.co/ David Costa

    You really nailed it with this post, Michael.

    Out of all the really good things you had to say (and there were a lot of them), I found your second rule under the ‘committing your goals to writing’ section to be the most useful:

    “Because it will motivate you to take action”

    Your disagreement with Rhonda Byrne is spot on; if merely longing for things was enough to get them, the stats you cited at the beginning of this post wouldn’t be so dire.
    There is no doubt it takes more than just ‘naming and claiming’ things, and pointing out that writing down our goals is a great way to actually make them come true is an excellent place to start. That is, by writing them down, our goals start the journey from mere fanciful idea to reality.

  • Dawn Herring


    I love the tangibility and focus your journaling strategy for goal meeting provides. It’s easy to get sidetracked from what we want; but then again, we don’t often know what we want! I find that knowing what I don’t want helps me zero in on what I do want, and then I can get more practical in ways of getting where I want to go. I so agree that writing it down really does make all the difference.

    I have chosen your post, 5 Reasons Why You Should Commit Your Goals to Writing, as Dawn’s #JournalChat Favorite for 1/15/14, for all things journaling on Twitter. I will share a link on my website, in Refresh Journal and on the social networks.

    #JournalChat Live is now monthly, First Sunday at 4 EST/1 PST; Jill Winski joins us as special guest for our February 2nd Sunday Session.

    Thanks for clarifying the benefit of writing down what you want.

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Dawn. I appreciate your support.

  • danajphoto

    Michael, thank you so much for your encouragement and love for people! I am reading your book Platform and it has been life changing for me and my business as a wedding photographer. God bless you, friend! :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Dan. Glad to hear it.

  • Akash Agarwal

    Nice article and very well explained too. i really learned a lot from this article. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us.

  • Nathan Brook

    Really it’s a great experience for me to read this post which helps me to learn something new and interesting.Thanks for your explanation. I think it will force you to clarify what you want.

  • http://mnmmariam.wordpress.com/ mariemerald

    thank you sharing your goals!! I mentioned your blog on mine =) http://mnmmariam.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/fall-productivity-bucket-list-nablopomo-day-15/

  • Guest

    I disagree with Rhonda Byrne, too. Believing that all you have to do is “imagine” wealth to receive it, which is one of the main reasons why so many people fail to use The Secret.

  • http://techcomhouse.com TiM

    I disagree with Rhonda Byrne, too. Believing that all you have to do is imagine wealth to receive it is one of the main reasons why so many people fail to use the Secret.

  • http://preachdatruth.blogspot.com/ Paul Horne

    I have written down my goals before and seen several of them come to fruition. I need to find a way to write them some where I can see them more often. I hope to get more out of my goals in the next year.

    God Bless,