Reaching Goals: chances of success increase if you write them down

By Marianne Renner, Leadership Coach, Speaker, Author

Today, as I walked to my mailbox,I could see a large yellow envelope jutting out from the box. I couldn’t wait to see who it was from. From the return address, I knew it was a book written by my friend and fellow coach, Dr. Clark Gaither, called “The Graduate’s Handbook, Your No-Nonsense Guide to What Comes Next.” I told him I wanted to buy several copies to give away as graduation presents next year, but I figured I’d better read a copy first.

I didn’t have to get beyond the first page to know it was a winner. The first words I read were, “whatsoever you write down in this book will come true… If you don’t write it down, it isn’t likely to happen. My 1-year goals are: (fill in the blank).”

Just a few hours prior to opening the book, I started working on this month’s blog about the importance of writing down goals. So I guess it was just meant to be.

Believe it or not, in just a handful of weeks you’re going to be talking about your New Year’s resolutions. Well, I’d like to save you the trouble. Trash the idea and instead, start now to write out a set of goals for yourself that you can work toward in 2017. I mean, do you even remember your resolutions from last year? I can probably guess the answer. Resolutions don’t work, but goals do.

Goals are much more likely to happen for you, especially if you write them down. A Harvard Business study found that people who have goals are 10 times more successful than those who don’t, and those statistics increase if the goals are written down.

Last month I was rummaging through my filing cabinet, looking for an empty notebook. I pulled out a spiral bound notebook that I thought was full of blank paper. But on the first page, I noticed some of my own handwriting. It was dated “July 7, 2011,” and it read, “Career goal: life coaching.”

I vaguely remember writing that down five years ago as I engaged in some soul-searching and brainstorming about where I wanted to go with my career. I didn’t give it much thought after that. But writing down that goal on that day had planted a seed that has been germinating all this time until it bloomed earlier this year.

There’s no better feeling then looking back at your goals and crossing them off your list as they come true.

Your goals don’t have to be life-changing. But they certainly can be. They can be career goals, financial goals, improving your relationships or personal development.

This is the perfect time of year to get your goals down on paper and start the New Year ready to get to work.

I have several worksheets that can help you get started on clarifying and developing goals. Contact me via my website at, and I’ll be happy to email them to you or talk with you further about achieving your goals and dreams in 2017.

Need help developing your goals? Download my free goal worksheet here.

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