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Why You Should Write Down Your Goals

By: Brian Kim - August 1, 2006

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I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before. Write your goals down. If they're not written down, they're just dreams.

When you write things down, it sets off a chain of events that will change your life. I am a firm believer of writing. A FIRM BELIEVER. It's my intention for the people reading this article to really understand the true explosive power when it comes to writing your goals down.

We are told that we should always write our goals down, but the reasons why we should are not thoroughly explored. I suspect that's why statistics show that only 2% of Americans actually write down their goals.

If the reasons are brought to light and easily understood, I feel more people will be inclined to actually write their goals down, rather than to keep it in their heads.

For example, we are told to drink the equivalent of 8 glasses of water a day (I know that number is in debate, but bear with me). If I told you all the reasons why you should be for doing so, such as: easy absorption of vitamins and minerals, improved energy, longer lifespan, increased mental and physical performance, removal of toxics in the body, a more youthful appearance, lower blood pressure, reduced headaches, etc and I expanded on those reasons, you would probably get in the habit of drinking 8 glasses of water a day. If those reasons were not told, you probably would not be inclined to do so.

By really understanding why writing things down is so crucial and understanding the reasoning and logic behind it, people will become more adept to picking that skill up.

The benefits to writing your goals down are threefold:

1. It forces you to clearly define what your goals are. It forces clarity.

2. It frees up room in your mind to take your thinking to the next level.

3. It incorporates all three learning techniques and stimulates creativity.

To discuss the power of writing goals down, let’s discuss one the goals that many of our children or our very entrepreneurial students in school have which is to make money without a job.

So let’s clearly define the goal in the form of a clear question so we can find clear answers.

How can I make around $20 this weekend without getting a job? ($20 is a lot for a kid, if I remember correctly)

Notice how I clearly defined the goal in terms of the amount of money I want to make, the time span, and the circumstances. By clearly defining these, the answers that follow will fit the profile of the question.

Here are the answers I came up with:

1. Collect cans and bottles and take them to a recycling bin to trade them for money.

2. Hold a garage sale and sell your books, toys, DVDS, clothes that you don’t need anymore.

3. Offer to help old people with computers in terms of setting up wireless networks, printers, removing spyware, etc. (kids are usually tech savy these days)

4. Mow the lawn, do odd jobs around the house, paint fences for your neighbors.

5. Buy candy at Costco (a wholesale store) and prepare to sell them individually at school.

6. Buy Gatorade and ice at Costco and put it in a cooler and sell it to thirsty athletes at your local park.

By clearly defining the goal, I was able to come up with multiple solutions. When I wrote each solution down, that in turned helped free up more room in my mind and helped to stimulate my creativity to come up with solutions that I never would've thought of before.

While I was writing down my goal and solutions, I was using all three modes of learning: Visual, audio and kinesthetic. I was seeing what I was writing, I was hearing it in my head the words as I was writing it, and I was actually using my body when writing it down.

People learn things differently. Some may learn better by seeing, some by hearing, some by doing, but by incorporating all three when writing, you use all your learning capabilities and that in turn along with clarity, frees up room in the mind and stimulates massive creativity.

I can tell you that the "buying candy and selling it at school from Costco" idea stimulated my creativity and and led to the "buy Gatorade and ice and sell it at the park" idea.

Now to further demonstrate the power of writing, let’s take that goal and develop it even further by writing it down in the form of a clear question and writing down answers to it.

How can I maximize my profits when selling Gatorade to thirsty athletes at parks?

1. Do research to see which day has the greatest number of people (thus, highest potential number of customers) and who the most thirsty athletes are (my guess soccer players) 2. Offer a discount to first time buyers. 3. Reward loyal customers with a frequent purchase card – buy 10 get the next 1 free. 4. See which flavors people like and only buy those. 5. Have proper change ready 6. Say thank you. 7. Decide the ideal number of Gatorade bottles to bring. 8. Decide where to sell first, maybe the soccer field, then basketball courts, then tennis courts. 9. Find which park is the best place to sell. 10. Maybe diversify your products by selling snacks too. 11. Maybe diversify with water (didn’t even think about water, the profit margin for water is huge. (You can buy 50 bottles for 6 dollars at Costco) 12. You can offer combinations of water and Gatorade to maximize revenue and to turnover inventory quickly.

When you write things down, the ideas start to flow like a river on paper, and you'll find them to be good ones too!
Ever wonder why the people who achieve their goals are the ones that write them down?

It’s because they got the goal out of their head.

They free up room in their head to think of ways to accomplish their goals and then they write those down to free up even more room. This stimulates creativity and the result is a really good idea with a concrete plan of action that can easily be implemented.

Ever wonder why great authors write great books? It’s not because they're great authors.

It’s because they simply write!

They write one scene, then that scene is out of their head, and they can now think of ideas on how to continue the storyline and as they do so and write it down, their creativity starts awakening and they get trapped in a beautiful cycle.

People who never write their goals down always have them stuck in their head and they have no “room” to think of ideas on how to act on them.

Here are some exercises you can do to start getting into the habit of writing things down.

1. Journaling

Keep a journal of your life. Anthony Robbins said “If your life is worth living, it’s worth recording.” So true. Nobody can write the story of your life better than you. Take time to remember the good memories of your life and do them justice. Don’t leave them to the chance of the fragile mind. Write down every detail using your five senses and do so on a nightly basis. You will find that you'll uncover things about yourself you never realized before.

2. Question + Answers

The simple clear question and answers written down is another powerful, yet simple approach to get into the habit of writing things down. I think in this case, it led to a pretty good idea. A high school kid could easily make a hundred bucks in profit on a weekend using the solution found above.

3. Mind Mapping

I was first introduced to mind mapping in my 10th grade A.P Biology class. I was blown away. It was very helpful. Mind mapping is an extremely powerful tool in terms of learning, brainstorming, and stimulating creativity.

It starts by you writing down a question, goal or idea on the center of a piece of paper and circling it. Then you can start branching off answers, other ideas, tangents by drawing lines from that center circle, writing down the other things that come to mind and circling that. Then you can expand from that circle or from other circles and soon come out with a spider web of ideas, all interconnected.

For more information on mind mapping, you can use our trusty friend Google!

4. Your Own Pep Talk

I think this can be a very fun and powerful tool to demonstrate the power of writing things down and can also get you into the habit of writing.

Most people nowadays criticize themselves and look at their own flaws with a microscope. You are your own worst critic as they say. To counter that, try writing down a pep talk to yourself that you can refer to every time you need a boost.

Think of all the positive qualities you possess. You may not say you have any, but write down one. You know what’s going to happen? You freed up room in your brain for more good qualities. You write those down too. You start becoming creative and write down things you’ve never seen in yourself and the floodgates will start to open.

The result will be a masterpiece about yourself that you never knew existed.

Cherish it and add to it daily to become your own pep talk.

Writing is magic. It has the power to touch other people, to transform lives, to move people to take action, and to accomplish monumental dreams. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of writing and the power it has to make people take action is the Declaration of Independence, which gave birth to the United States of America and ensured freedom and democracy for all who live within its borders.

So what are you waiting for? Get into the habit of writing things down. Start writing down your goals.

I will now leave you with an exercise you can do that will transform your life from this day forward.

Step 1:

Write down one clear goal you would like to accomplish this year that will make the biggest impact on your life.

Step 2:

Write that goal down in the form of a clear question.

Step 3:

Write a list of answers on how you can accomplish the one goal you’ve chosen.

You'll find that by doing these simple steps, you'll be more motivated to take action in accomplishing your goals, because they're not stuck in your head.

Write It Down -> Get it Out of Your Head -> Write More Down -> Stimulate Your Creativity -> Great Ideas and Action Plans Start to Formulate -> Implement Them -> Achieve Your Goals.

Your dreams start to manifest the second you write them down, so





[tags]goal setting, writing, goals, career, work, success[/tags]

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7 Responses to “Why You Should Write Down Your Goals”

  1. Follow Your Dreams NOW: The Time Will NEVER Be Just Right Says:

    […] Because their brain is free from having the dream stuck in their head (their hands are now free of holding the seed), they can use their hands to nourish the seed (till soil, add water, pull weeds, etc).  Getting your dream out of your head and onto paper is extremely important for those reasons.  (you can also read my post on Why You Should Write Down Your Goals.) […]

  2. How to Think of Great Ideas Says:

    […] It even worked for the 21 year old who created the famous million dollar homepage.  All he did was take a blank piece of paper and write at the top “How can I become a millionaire?”  20 minutes later the idea was born.  There is great power when it comes to writing down your goals. […]

  3. victor gomez Says:

    Man, your blog is probably the best in the web and this article has helped me so much i cannot find a way to thank you enough. Thank you so much!

  4. Brian Kim Says:


    Thank you very much for your kind words. I’m flattered that you think this blog is the best in the web! I really appreciate it.

    You’re very welcome!

  5. Write down your goals « mikimix Says:

    […] January 7, 2008 “It forces you to clearly define what your goals are. It forces clarity. ” Posted by mikimix Filed in Uncategorized […]

  6. Reggie Says:

    Hey Brian,

    Another great article! What do you think bout typing goals out? Just as effective? My penmanship is crap having deteriorated over the years. Typing is far quicker and obviously legible!

  7. Brian Kim Says:


    Thanks for the kind word. I really appreciate it.

    With regard to your question, call me old fashioned, but there’s something about putting pen to paper that you can’t really get from typing.

    While on the outside, the two may appear to do the same function, with typing obviously being more cleaner like you mentioned, but for me personally, I always come back to pen and paper.

    I don’t know why, but my gut feeling says you’re better off with that than typing. And don’t worry about your penmanship. It will get cleaner as you practice.

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