Making goals and attempting to turn dreams into reality are as common to humans as breathing. From the time we are able to understand that change is possible—that renewal of self is possible—we begin to almost daily think “what if?”
The real truth about goals is that if there’s not some kind of intentionality behind them, then they’re just dreams—a hazy thought that soon passes away. Even if your dream becomes a recurring thought, it remains nothing more than a fanciful hope, a scheme destined to stay an illusion.
Dave Ramsey says, “Vision that is ready to go to work is called a goal.” The first step in converting a vision or dreams into a goals is to take action by writing out those goals.
Make Your Goals Actionable by Writing them Out
Take out your computer right now—or an old-fashioned piece of paper and a pencil—and write out your goals. Don’t wait, do it right this moment, even if you’re only jotting something down you can refine later.
Why write your goals? There are numerous benefits, but here are my top 5 reasons:
- Clarity: Forcing yourself to write out your goals helps you see if you really have an idea of what you want to achieve. Remember, we began determining our goals by asking, “who do I want to become?” Answer that question. [Goals must be specific.]
- Actionability: When you get your goals down in a written form you see for the first time whether or not you can truly take action to reach your goals. You may discover that your goal is simply not practical or possible—at least without refinement. [Goals must be attainable.]
- Measurability: In order to ultimately reach your goals, you must be able to track your progress. How do you know if you’re going forward or backward unless you can define what forward motion looks like. You begin to set a standard of measure when you write out your goals, and you have a concrete idea of your destination—a success metric. [Goals must be measurable and have a time limit.]
- Incrementalism: Once written, you not only have a foundation for actionable steps to reach your goals, but you can also see a bigger picture that will reveal how to break your large, long-term goals into smaller short-term segments. [Goals must be realistic.]
- Ownership: Writing down goals helps you determine whether those goals were your idea or someone else’s. Goals cannot be something you’ve been pressured into making, or constructed out of a sense of guilt—that’s setting yourself up for failure. YOU must be the one who desires to change—not your parents, spouse, or boss—you. [Goals must be uniquely yours.]
Having written goals helps you stick with your goals by giving you something specific to look forward to. You have a clear destination in mind and you’re setting yourself up to draw the map and create an itinerary. You’ll be able to know what success looks like because you’ve given it a clear definition.
Now that you’ve written out your goals you’re ready to take your first real steps toward an extraordinary life.
Have your written out your goals in the past? In what ways did having written goals help you successfully reach those goals? Share your answers in the comments.
Also published on Medium.
I’m Jeff M. Miller, and I help ordinary people who are stuck in a rut change their behaviors so they can be extraordinary. I’m an entrepreneur who retired from my full-time job in my early 40s to work from home. I’m a financial counselor, life coach, graphic designer, and passionate believer in helping others improve their lives a little more each day.
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