Writing goals is the first step towards committing yourself to achieving them. While mentally setting a goal is fine, writing your goal is best as it becomes a sort of formal commitment document that you make to yourself, which is next best to making it to somebody else. This exercise helps bring in more accountability towards achieving the goal. When you commit to your boss “Yes, I will do it by such and such date”, you become accountable to your boss on the commitment made. Writing your goal tries to
bring in the same commitment into your personal goal setting. It then boils down to how seriously you take yourself.
So here is how to write goals:
- Exibit strong intent. The first thing to remember about a goal is that it is positive statement of intent, hence it should be written like that. The intent manifests as a power of your will, so you should always begin your goals with ‘I will ..’. It should not be merely written as an act of doing something, such as, ‘Declutter the cupboards every weekend’. Rather write ‘I will declutter the cupboards every weekend’. The second statement is much more powerful than the first, by virtue of the words ‘I will’.
- Be specific, to the extent that you are able to identify when you have achieved you goal. “I will achieve better health” is not a specific goal as there is no clear cut identification when your goal can be said to be accomplished. Rather write “I will develop ability to run for 5 miles”.
- Put an appropriate deadline to your goal. It is said ‘Work expands to fill the time allocated to finish it’. So if you give more time to finish a particular goal you will end up eating that extra time as well, as the sense of urgency which an appropriately defined deadline brings in will not be there. And if you don’t time bound your goal at all, you can understand what awaits your goal.
Some examples of correctly written goals:
1. I will loose 5 pounds by 31st December 2009.
2. I will achieve over 90% marks in board exams.