Goal Planning System Objective #2 How To Write Goals

Poll number: 

Question-Week ending Sunday 01/26/03:

What percentage of the goals you set for yourself are either written down on paper or typed out in a computer program and looked at often? Please read our Poll Commentary before taking this poll.

Pre-Poll Commentary:

This week's poll is the second in our series of discussions on our Goal Planning System. This week, we will be discussing the importance of committing your goals in writing.

Non-written goals are really not goals at all. Not writing down your goals is even worse than not writing down your appointments and commitments to others. You will be leaving yourself vulnerable to experience disappointments often. Unwritten goals are mere wishes. They are not detailed, clear or specific. They do not have well planned deadlines and it is impossible to keep score so you can measure your success along the way. Unwritten goals are mere thoughts that will change as often as your opinions about them change.

Written goals on the other hand are true commitments you make to yourself. They must be stated in clear concise language, using action verbs to get you moving and started as quick as possible. You must believe in the goals you set and have a personal desire to accomplish them in a timely fashion.

When setting goals, don't procrastinate your starting dates for activity to begin. If you wait for the school year to begin; after the holidays; Spring; Summer; Fall; after vacation; after your birthday; etc, you will just be kidding yourself, and become a master of the art of procrastination instead of goal achievement. Once you begin the process of setting goals, you need to stay at it until you finish the planning stages and then start on your quest quickly. Don't let even a day pass by without activity or you will fall into a time trap and probably never get started.

Setting and achieving goals is one of the most satisfying parts of life. You build confidence, self esteem and a strong character to help you enjoy life more. Just don't fall prey to skipping this critical STEP 2 -Writing Down Goals.

Let us know what percentage of the goals you set are written down and reviewed often. This poll will end on Sunday 01/26/03. Watch for the results and summary by Monday morning 01/27/03.


  1. 45% answered they write goals down LESS than 75% of time

  2. 18% answered they write goals down 80% of time

  3. 16% answered they write goals down 85% of time

  4. 13% answered they write goals down 75% of time

  5. 05% answered they write goals down 95% of time

  6. 03% answered they write goals down 90% of time

Post-Poll Commentary:

This poll really stirred the juices of many people last week. I had several conversations and e-mail communications about my statement that "non-written goals are not goals at all." The contention of some was that people are achieving their goals without writing them down. Lots of people get lots of things done without having to write them down. The cloudiness sets in distinguishing the difference between a TASK and a GOAL.

A goal is much larger and more complex than a task. As an example a builder has a goal of constructing a house on a plot of land. There are many obstacles, steps and TASKS involved to bringing this goal to fruition. Do you think it's possible to achieve this goal by storing all the information necessary in ones head? Another example might be that high school student has a goal to attend college. There are hundreds of obstacles, choices and decisions that need to be analyzed during this process. A plan of action needs to be followed in a timely fashion. Do you think this goal can be achieved properly without a written plan? How about a business that has a goal to increase sales and profits by 10% this year? What are the chances of success without a written plan?

I was happy that the juices were flowing from this poll. It was an absolute success. We needed to distinguish tasks and to-do lists that people perform on a daily basis from goals. We need to convince people to set more goals and commit the process of achieving them to writing. Hopefully if we take this poll again in twelve months, we will have more people setting more worthy goals and committing the process to writing.