Writing and referencing your goals on a daily basis is a habit that will focus your energy and set you on a path to get what you really want out of life.
A concept I first learned from the book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is that everything in this world is created twice.
It all starts as an idea that you repeat in your head, scribble on a loose piece of paper or thoughtfully draft on a digital document. The second creation – the part we all get to see – is how you bring that idea into the physical world.
The stronger you make your idea, the easier it will be to bring it into reality.
“You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal.” – Zig Ziglar
Why Write and Review Your Goals?
When you write and review your goals regularly you will be able to live a more fulfilling, intentional life by:
- Keeping track of what you want. Setting your goals in writing
forces youallows you to define and refine what you really want and need. Your goals will act as signposts you can reference when you are unsure of what action you should take.
- Having a reference to call you out. A written document states your intentions in black and white. When you review those intentions often, it becomes obvious when you are not performing the actions necessary to reach your goals.
- Allowing you to be a better long-term decision maker. Referencing written goals allows you to think more clearly about what you want. This clear thinking will lead to better decisions. Day by day you will be better able to consider, not only the short term benefits of your choices, but the long term paths you’d like your life to follow.
Where to Write Your Goals
I currently keep my written goals inside Evernote. I do this so I have access to my goals wherever I go via my smartphone. I also use Evernote because the notes are easily linked to my daily rituals in OmniFocus.
I previously used Google Drive, but the document was slower to upload on my phone making me less likely to review or edit my goals on the fly. The actual software you use to capture your goals doesn’t matter – the point is that you write your goals in a place that can be easily referenced.
Other places you could write your goals include: a Microsoft Word document, a plain text file, digital mindmap, a portable paper notebook like Moleskin or even a notecard will do.
How to Write Your Goals
The first step to writing your goals is asking yourself, “What do I want?” When you ask yourself this question, different things may come up depending on context, time of life, projects you are working on at work, etc.
For reference, here are the big ‘wants’ I currently hold:
To connect with highest version of myself.
To know more than I did yesterday.
To lessen the suffering of others.
A Job. A Career. A Calling.
To change the world and have a hell of a good time.
These big wants will change. Keep adding and subtracting different goals until you find a set that you are excited to work toward.
Next take the time to figure out your top 3 goals in each of the following areas of your life:
- Make $100,000 a year doing something I love.
- Buy a house.
- Create a passive income cash flow.
- Rested- via daily meditation and 7.5 hours of sleep
- Strong- via daily exercise and vigorous exercise 3 days a week
- Energized – via required daily vegetables and supplements
- Family and Relationships
- Talk to parents and siblings 2-3 times a week
- Call lifelong friends once a week
- Physical intimacy with my partner 3+ times a week
- Personal Development
- Write daily
- Read and implement new business ideas weekly
- Find public speaking opportunities monthly
- Social and Community
- Build relationships with neighbors via gardening and dinner parties
- Volunteer tutoring weekly
- Build relationship with gym members via finding interests and encouragement
- Keep abundance mentality
- Finish what I start
- Devoting enough time to my relationships
Some other examples you could develop goals around include spirituality, mental or emotional needs or adventures you’d like to have. The sky is the limit.
How to Review Your Goals
You can make reviewing your goals a ritual by putting them in an obvious spot, such as on your refrigerator or computer.
I personally review my goals as part of my morning ritual. OmniFocus reminds me and I simply click on the attachment where my goals are stored in Evernote.
The easier it is to access and the more obvious location you put your written goals, the less likely they will end up unreviewed and unrealized.
To Sum Up
Life offers a myriad of paths to follow.
Writing your goals is like drawing the map. And reviewing your goals is like referencing the map. The better the map and more often it’s checked, the quicker you’ll reach your desired destination.