The Importance of Writing Down Goals

If you have spent any time in corporate life you are probably familiar with the concepts of goal setting, S.M.A.R.T. goals and so on. While you may know that those who engage in a deliberate process of identifying and setting goals are more successful overall than those who don’t, you may not know is that setting goals internally might not be enough. Those who also write down their goals and share their progress with others are far more likely to meet their goals than those who don’t[1].

So does this mean goal making itself has also become a burden? Do we now have to set goals to sit down and set our goals? Not at all. Thanks to the availability of online resources in many formats, it can be both easy and fun to maximize your goal-setting efficiency.

Download Goal Setting Worksheets

You can kill two birds with one stone by downloading pre-formatted worksheets to analyze your needs and document your resulting goals. Here are a few excellent sites for finding a worksheet that fits your needs and interests:

  • is a site developed for and by educators and offers many free goal setting templates for setting goals.
  • Pinterest is surprisingly a rich source of templates for all kinds of goal setting resources. Search for Goal Setting Worksheet and you’ll be amazed by the many links and sub-topics that appear.

If your goals are topic specific (health, finance, industry), you might find specific worksheets more helpful. The non-profit Financial Literacy Month, for example, offers many worksheets and tools specifically for defining and sticking to personal finance goals. Add your topic to a Google search, or browse your favorite topic resources (such as a fitness magazine, or industry publication) for worksheets.

Go Digital – There’s an App for that!

If you want to lose weight, stick to a budget or improve productivity, there’s probably a smartphone app or website service customized to the task you want to achieve. And don’t assume that only topic specific apps are available. Generalist applications such as GoalsOnTrack©, LifeTick®, Habit List, Irunurun®, and StickK® allow you to set and tackle goals of your own choosing – from business to life-balance[2].

In fact, choosing between your options will likely be more difficult than finding them. Here are some tips to finding the good ones:

  • Read user reviews – App stores such as iTunes® and Google Play® allow users to review apps and rate them on a scale. To find quality apps, look for those with the highest ratings AND the highest number of reviews and downloads. (Note: A 5-star rating doesn’t mean much if only one person downloaded the app.)
  • Read third-party reviews – Browse your favorite publications for reviews on topic specific apps. Men’s Fitness, for example, publishes a list of the top 10 apps that appeal to their target market[3]. PC magazine also reviews apps on many topics.

Most well-developed apps take advantage of good goal setting principles and include helpful features such as goal defining, goal measurement tools and accountability through social media.

Whether you scratch out your goal on a sticky note and tape it to your mirror, or go high-tech, the effort of taking your goals out of your head and putting them somewhere in the physical world is worth the trouble. Your actions to accomplish those goals will likely take place in the real world, too.