Grab a Pen and Paper
A few months ago I had the opportunity to lead a seminar educating college freshmen and sophomores on the importance of setting goals. It came as a shock to me when I asked how many of them were ever introduced to “SMART” goals or a vision board; less than 5% even knew what they were. I had only an hour with each group of 20 individuals so I needed my information to be relevant and compelling. I wanted each participant to walk away with an action plan. After all, knowledge without action is just the passage of time.
I focused on how it is essential for a purposeful life to maintain goals (written goals specifically), develop a strategic plan for these goals, and always strive for self-improvement.
I introduced the topic with a study done at Yale University in 1953 that polled undergraduate students. At that time, 3% of the students had written goals, the other 97% did not. When these same individuals were polled 30 years later, the net worth of the 3% with the written goals was greater than that of the other 97% combined. It needs to be stated that money does not necessarily indicate success and happiness; this is far from the message I was illustrating. However, having a good relationship with money and allowing it to be a vehicle for freedom is perfectly healthy.
There have been numerous studies like the one above that validate the importance of written goals. There is something to be said for taking a thought and bringing it to existence by writing it down. When this occurs:
- It makes you define clearly what your goals are. It encourages you to state what you want in greater detail.
- It frees your mind of perpetually thinking and “remembering” your goals.
- It stimulates creativity and motivates you to think about the next step.
- Most importantly, it becomes a written contract to yourself, which usually sparks a personal motivation to achieve them.
Written goals keep you accountable; they give you a reason to wake up every morning. If you are keeping your goals in “non-existence”, floating around with the ether in your mind, bring them to life. Look at them every day. Whether it’s shedding a few pounds over the next couple of months or eating vegetables with every meal, figure out your SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals and write them down… you’ll be glad you did.
-Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow-
Mike Sherbakov, CSCS, CPT, RYT