Why Writing Your Goals Down Works

Why Writing Your Goals Down Works

You've probably heard about how writing your goals down could change your life and bring you all the success you desire. It sounds very cliché, but a certain part of that is also true. But how would taking a pen and writing your goals down help you with achieving your goals?

Your brain is a big mass of thoughts, goals and ideas. Writing things down lets you filter out the good ones. It separates the good stuff from the bad stuff. If you don't write the good things down, it will probably disappear together with the rest of them.

Writing down your goals sets your course. If you confront yourself with your goals every day, you'll constantly be reminded of it and your path will tend to the direction of your goals automatically. Everything you do throughout the day will be with your goals in the back of your mind. It helps you with saying yes to the things that you bring closer to your goals and saying no to the rest. Writing goals down is not a magic formula. It mainly increases the odds of you commiting to them and therefore achieve them.


If you write down your goals you will be more likely to stick to them. Several studies showed that people who write down goals will accomplish significantly more than those who don't. There are a couple of reasons for that:

  • Accountability: When you hold yourself accountable (e.g. showing your goals to your friends), you will be more likely to stick to your goals. Research shows that when you sent weekly updates about your goals to a friend, you will be on average 33% more successful in accomplishing your goals. This is probably because a person doesn't like to fail publicly.
  • Our brain: Thinking about your goals activates mainly the right part of your brain: your imagination, expression and emotional intelligence. Interacting with your goals, by writing them down in this case, will also activate the left part of your brain: your logic, critical thinking and reasoning. If you both think about your goal and write it out, you put both hemispheres of the brain to actively think and work towards your goal.

Setting Goals

So, what kind of goals do you have to write down?

Numerical goals like "10.000 subscribers on Youtube" or "$15.000 saved" could be among your goals, but you could probably formulate them better. Hitting numerical goals give you a small dopamine hit for a moment after which you move on to the next target. Focus on the process of reaching your goal instead of the end target. "10.000 subscribers on Youtube" is outside your control. Focus on creating better videos or uploading more. The end target will take care of itself.

Final Note

Setting goals sets the direction for where you want to go in life. It's not a magic formula, but it definitely makes a difference if you regularly write your goals down. Multiple research has proven that you will more likely stick to your goals if you write them down. So take a pen and write down everything you want. That's already one step further than all the others that just walk around with ideas in their head.