Writing down clear goals is key recipe for success

I called a friend the other day and told him I have something that can transform his business tenfold. He asked the cost and I told him its free for him. Excited, he promised me that if it could help him even triple his business this year and get out of debts he will surprise me.

So when we met that same evening, instead I surprised him. I told him what he already knew. But like most of us, he does not apply what he knows. I told him to set clear goals, write them down and commit to pursuing them. This is simply the secret of success that majority of us are deeply aware of.

Several studies conducted over different times and places have proven beyond doubt the immeasurable benefits of writing down goals. Yet despite this awareness and people’s desire to succeed, only 3 percent of adults have clear, written, specific, measurable, time-bounded goals.

It has been established that on average people with clear written goals accomplish ten times as much as people with no goals at all.

Psychologists and thought leaders have posited several explanations why most people don’t involve themselves with the act of writing down goals. Let’s look at three of them.

One reason is mentality that “I know what I want” and so whether it is written or not it does not matter. It does. Writing down helps one to sift goals from so many desires and ideas that crowd our minds at any moment.

Without a written point of reference, you will not know precisely what you are pursuing and when you are drifting away.

The second is the feeling that you are not really in control of events surrounding you, and that it is impossible to stick to your goals. This is partially true. But then it is one of the key reasons why you need definite goals to help you stay on course against those odds.

In avionics, it is said that a plane is off course most of the time. Through most of the journey, the pilot is on continual course corrections to ensure the planes arrives on time, and more often than not it does.

The key to ensuring goals work is to focus on actions that lead to the accomplishment of the goal rather than the goal itself. For example, if your goal is to get out of debts by end of the year, you don’t focus on debts. Rather you come up with actions that when done well, will ultimately increase your income and set you debt free. Those may include improving your customer service, training your sales staff, producing what customer needs increasing efficiency, eliminating costs that don’t add value.

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