Why does writing something down make us more likely to do it?
Robert Cialdini discusses this in this in his book, “Influence.” His research shows that humans have a desire to be perceived as consistent. If we publicly commit to do something and then act differently we can be seen as hypocritical or untrustworthy.
Writing something down is a public commitment of sorts. When you’ve written a goal you don’t have the luxury of “forgetting” the goal or of modifying it in your mind at a later time. Writing down your goal will engage your subconscious to act in ways that are consistent with that goal.
There’s a big group of people that advocate for SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Focused and Time-Bound. I think this is a great framework for goal setting. The power of a SMART goal is that you can imagine yourself accomplishing the goal. You can get a mental picture of yourself achieving the goal.
Maybe this is the first time you’re hearing about this idea. Test it out. Write a goal on a piece of paper and put it somewhere that you’ll see it everyday. Even better, tell your friends about the goal.
My wife and I have had great success in accomplishing the goals that we’ve written down. Maybe it is time for me to write a new goal…