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Getting Your Goals on Paper – Why It’s Important

September 07, 2015 - Posted toCatchy topics for your research papers

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Getting Your Goals on Paper – Why It’s Important

We all have dreams – not the ones that creep into our subconscious while we sleep. We have “awake” dreams of what we want to be and do as our futures unfold. We think about these dreams sometimes, when we are not too busy with everyday life, and that means that they are relegated to only small amounts of our thought energy.

Recently, Sr. Gail Matthews, professor of psychology at Dominican University in California, conducted a study. She had half of her participants verbalize their goals and the other half both verbalize them and then write them down. Over the course of her longitudinal study, she reported that those participants who wrote their goals down on paper were 42% more likely to achieve them. While her study did not go into why this was the case, other psychologists have come up with those “whys” and there are 5 important reasons why we should all commit our dreams to paper.

It Helps Us Clarify

When we have to write down our dreams or goals, we are forced to really think about them and to be specific. It’s one thing to say I want to be happy. It is quite another to define what would make you happy and to write those things down as goals. It is one thing to say you want to be rich. It is quite another to define what “rich” would be to you. Writing will force you to refine your goals and dreams.

It Serves as a Motivator

Once those dreams are in writing, they should be posted somewhere in your home and at your workplace a place where you will see them every day. Instead of relegating them to occasional thought, you will think of them every day. As you think about them more, you begin to develop strategies to achieve them, and you are much more likely to take actions that will move you toward their achievement.

It Will Prevent You from Being Waylaid by aDistractions

Let’s suppose you have a goal to eventually live in a certain part of the country. You just love the weather, the scenery, and the people. Currently, you job keeps you where you are, but you have a rather ongoing job search for positions in that area. All of a sudden, a job opportunity presents itself that is quite attractive, but it is not in the part of the country that you have as a dream. If that dream of where you want to live is foremost in your consciousness, you will not be distracted by this circumstance. You will realize that taking that job will not get you closer to here you really want to be.

It Will Help You See Progress and Celebrate

Most long-term dream and goals are just that – long-term. They are dreams that you hope to achieve ultimately, but you also know that there will be benchmarks or milestones along the way. If your goals are right in front of you, you can assess how far you have come toward achieving them and celebrate the active step you have taken. This recognition that you are moving forward toward that dream will both spawn praise of yourself and keep you motivated to keep going.

It Helps You Move Past Obstacles

With your goals right in front of you, you will be able to recognize obstacles as they appear. You can then develop strategies to overcome those obstacles, rather than accept them, because you have failed to consider your dreams as you look at them. If a circumstance is an obstacle to your dream, then you will find a way to remove it and keep moving forward.

Dream your dreams; cherish those dreams; but above all, put those dreams in writing so that you can plan your actions to achieve them.

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