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Are you one of the 5% who write goals?

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Goals in a Net


This week I’m celebrating the  completion of a long cherished dream – to finally write a book that simplifies Goal Setting and Achievement with a look back at my own childhood and my favorite activity of creating To Do Lists.


On being ‘Miss To Do List’


Every family has that one individual whose antics are a source of amusement. In our family, I wore the coveted crown for many years until a pair of dachshunds joined our family. Then their progeny gave enough competition for me to bail out gracefully muttering that I had to make way for new talent!


One of my habits, which has since been adopted by my family related to my tendency to write things down. It did not matter what I was writing, it had to be done in style and in an eye-appealing manner.


I bought special colored stationery to prepare my To Do Lists and Goal Setting was done in an equally attractive manner. No wonder my father nick-named me Miss To-Do List!


Those were the pre-computer days (other than the big IBM machines and data card entry) yet I managed to inspire myself. Now my mantra for happiness includes PowerPoint templates and colored printouts.


But no one could deny the fact that I got things done, efficiently and effectively.


So my tribe started with my family and went on to gather members from my friends and associates. I gather new converts whenever and wherever I can to the art of writing down goals and yes, the famous To-Do List.


I read an article sometime back which mentioned that studies have found that only 5% of adults ever write their goals. It got me wondering, is there a correlation between written goals and goal achievement? I believe there is.


Why it makes sense to write down goals


The beauty of writing down goals and tasks for that matter is that one tends to look at them, think about them and finally action them. It is easier to monitor progress and adjust strategy before the goal goes for a toss.


If the goal is a mental one, it stays that way. The mind has enough to think about and if the goal is overtaken by urgent and important matters, then the probability of it being pushed to the back-burner increases until such time that the goal too acquires an urgent and important status.


Writing down goals can be a simple exercise and not an elaborate power point presentation. The point is to put it down in writing so that you can see the goal for what it is and not what you think it is.


We talk of SMART Goals but how would you know if your goal is SMART if you cannot see the pieces and the strategy for goal success?


Are there any missing pieces to your strategy jig-saw puzzle?


Write it down and look at it. Quite possibly the missing pieces may take you in another direction where more important goals or steps are required before starting on the goal you really want to achieve.


Once you have put your SMART Goals down in print, preparing an action plan is the next step. It also means breaking down tasks into smaller ones where the sum of the small tasks equals achieving the main task and perhaps even more. It means knowing where you might encounter roadblocks or need to tweak and improve your skills. More importantly, it means taking stock of your skills and strengths.


When the goal is in writing, there is a means of tracking your progress and keeping you accountable to yourself.  Written evidence of success helps to boost your self-confidence. It provides evidence of your achievements to pull you through difficult times when there are setbacks and a morale boost is required.


Monitoring your progress also helps to identify what is working and what is not. For the latter, be flexible and make the necessary adjustments while keeping your focus on the end goal.


Take heart and put pen to paper or fingers to computer keys and create your SMART Goals with an Action Plan.

Better yet, acquire a copy of my Kindle book  by clicking on the image or here

Goal Achievement Simplified – When Your Actions Give Results


Goal Achievement Simplified cover



Do you write down your Goals and create Action Plans? I’d love to read about your method to stay on track in the comments box below.




Goals by Peter Griffin

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22 Responses to “Are you one of the 5% who write goals?”

  1. Goal setting is something I don’t have trouble with. They are small, attainable and realistic. I do write about major goals that are set for a couple of years in the future.

  2. I live from To Do Lists but I never saw them as my goals because I used them to get things done. Without the action steps and time frame, they are tasks. I’m masterful at getting tasks done but resist turning them into goals. I never learned excel or powerpoint & simply using scrap paper always works. Love tossing one away at end of day, of course, moving to new sheet any tasks that didnt get done.
    I was a full time working mom with a full plate & couldn’t manage without lists.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I’m still a great fan of To Do Lists and many of the items in those lists at any point of time are coming forward from a goal that I have set myself. I remember my Dad using a similar process to yours for his list, Roslyn. In my case, the delight in crossing out items and yes, moving the undone ones to the next weekly list reminds me of what I have achieved and then what I need to get off my list. The items that get carried forward are usually ones that need more ground work or better timing.

  3. As a person who keeps a lot in my head “percolating”, I have heard how important writing down your goals is from many people. I did this in February in the form of a letter to myself, at a convention I went to, and it will be mailed to me to see how far I have gotten towards achieving them next February. The most challenging part is no matter how lofty my goals are and how many steps I take towards achieving them, life seems to show up and shift my focus to other things. I love your ideas presented in this post Vatsala, and documenting your goals in a creative way, really appeals to me as well. This year I created a vision board, a visional cornucopia of my goals in pictures, and it hangs in my bedroom for me to see everyday! Good luck with your new book too, as it seems more so than ever, people could use tools to get focused and commit their Smart Goals to paper!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thank you for your good wishes Beverley. And an even bigger thank you for sharing 2 unique ways to keep us accountable for our success. Life does shift our focus at times and another good reason to write our goals down is to be able to assess if they are still high priority when events take place or if they need to be modified to fit into a more holistic view of our life. Sometimes new and better goals emerge!

  4. Deb Nelson says:

    Oh, yes, the SMART goals and implementation plan – love them!! And, I write my goals and to-do lists longhand to help clarify in my head exactly what I expect to achieve.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Writing down goals and To Do Lists longhand not only provides clarity to the head about what we expect to achieve, Deb, but I read a long time ago that when we write with our hands, the messages and signals get embedded even stronger in our minds. There has to be some truth to this because I’ve often noticed that a goal that is written down in my journal by hand is achieved faster and with less agony. 🙂

  5. Joe Butka says:

    Writing down your goals is like a “Business Plan”, it needs to be written down but is also ever changing.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      That is actually one more reason why writing down our goals with action plan steps becomes important, Joe, because we can then monitor our progress and make changes if required with a record of what worked well and what didn’t for future goals of a similar nature.

  6. Upon my rereading I am aware of another step that turns a to do list into goals & that is to have a measurable result. Often items on my to do list are tasks to get done without a time limit. For some unknown reason, I have resisted creating concrete goals. Need to look more closely at that. I’ll give myself a deadline for important tasks, but it could be more powerful created another way. Hmmm.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      It could be a subconscious effort not to become accountable for the task if it becomes a goal or perhaps it is a way to ensure that you don’t put yourself under pressure? As long as the end result is achieved, any method that gets the important work done within a measurable time frame works, Roslyn.

      For example, I start a new To Do List every week with tasks that have to be done asap and those that can be done later but with a deadline. So, the minute I receive a bill that has to be paid, I put it in the list but mark a deadline date and then prioritize what is on my list and has to be done soon. The key is to get the important but not urgent tasks done first and then review priorities for the next step.

  7. I can absolutely vouch that when you write your goals down, you’re achieving them. Having a deadline is important and many times I noticed it can shift, but eventually gets accomplished.

    I used to write down my main 10 goals every single day and I was feeling more grounded and generally way clearer on what I have to do. Lately I’ve become “too busy” to do that daily and I noticed it gets fuzzy sometimes. Need to go back at doing it consistently. Thanks for the push, Vatsala!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Most welcome, Delia. I too have noticed that things get fuzzy when I skip my goal list. Like a To Do List withdrawal syndrome. 🙂 On with our goals and success!

  8. Kaz says:

    First pf all, massive congratulations on your book! That’s amazing!
    I always write down my goals. What works for me now is my morning rituals; morning light exercise, gratitude journal, hydration, visualization and affirmation. All of which keep me focused and motivated each day. Writing down goals is very important. Thank you for sharing your great blog!

  9. Hi Vatsala,
    Goal setting is so important especially when you have a work at home business. So easy to get distracted 😉 Writing them down helps so much and you are more productive!!

    Great post!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Absolutely Joan. There is nothing worse than working away the whole day on a home business and then wondering at night what one achieved during the day.

  10. Robin Strohmaier says:

    Hi Vatsala,
    First, congratulations on writing your book! What a wonderful accomplishment!

    Great post and subject! I am love writing down my goals – both short term and long term. I actually thrive on accomplishing them. I have tried apps like ToDoist, but still prefer hand writing them down.

    Again, congratulations on accomplishing your goal of writing your book! I will be checking it out.


    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Robin. Handwritten goals work better because it raises the commitment level. I finally wrote down a timeline to get the Goal Achievement Simplified book finalized and published and that worked wonders. Hope you enjoy reading my book.

  11. Coach Natalie Palombi says:

    I have SMART goals but I haven’t written them down since I added new ones a couple of months ago!!
    Thanks for reminding me – I think it’s time!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Absolutely, Natalie! Putting down your SMART Goals in writing might lead to ideas on how to combine actions and more successful goal achievement!

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