Write Down Your Goals

“Write Down Your Goals” by Joan Y. Edwards

Do you have a plan for submitting your work?  Do you have your goals written down. If your goals are written down, you will be more  likely to accomplish them. Try it out on a simple goal and see what happens.

Writing it down makes a deal with your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind sets wheels in motion to help your plan become reality. Maxwell Maltz in his Psycho-Cybernetics book says that our subconscious mind is an automatic success mechanism.

You increase its effectiveness, if you write down your goal, and put it where you can see it every day. Write it on the back of a business card, write it on the back of a 3×5 index card, write it on a sentence strip like they use in elementary school, write it in large print on an 8.5 x 11 piece of typing paper, put it on a piece of white card stock. Just write it. You can even put it in your pocket and take it out and look at it several times a day. Bob Proctor in You Were Born Rich and Earl Nightingale in The Strangest Secret say that’s a great idea. Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup books uses it consistently. It keeps your goals up front in your mind. It helps you focus on what you want.

When you write it you are making a commitment to carry it out.

If you share your goals with a friend, you are doubling the commitment and creating a bond.

If you write out action steps to accomplish your goals, you’re helping yourself see your plan carried out and your goal actually come into existence.

In researching the study, I found the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. way of allocating goals. You are smarter when your goals are:

S – Specific:

  • Make your goal meaningful. You decide the goal, not someone else.
  • Make your goal as specific as possible.
  • Make your goal “get 10 new clients” instead of “get new clients.”
  • Make your goal be an instruction telling you what to do.
  • Make your goal one that inspires you to be determined to accomplish in spite of obstacles.

M – Measurable:

  • Describe and define how you will measure your progress.
  • Seeing progress on a chart will help you feel good and spur you on to greater success.
  • Measuring produces evidence for your progress.
  • Keep a log and record each action and reaction taken toward goal.
  • Accept and celebrate each step you make toward success.

A – Attainable:

  • Make your goal ambitious, but not impossible to reach.
  • Do not set yourself up for failure.
  • Make your goal one you are confident you can reach.
  • Choose a goal that will help you grow, learn, and stretch.

R – Reasonable:

  • Set a reasonable goal that you can and want to reach.
  • Break large goals into small chunks.
  • Write appropriate small action steps necessary to meet goal.

T – Time Based:

  • When will you finish your goal?
  • You need to choose a time, the sooner the better.
  • I will accomplish this goal in one week, two weeks, three weeks, four weeks; year, two years, three years, five years, ten years.

E – Evaluated

  • Assess your progress at set intervals.
  • Relax and use your intuition, education, or inspiration to get you back on track.
  • Set revised goals and action steps.

R – Rewarded

  • Celebrate you and all you’ve done.
  • Choose a small tangible reward for each step you take: a dessert, a call to a friend, a trip window-shopping, a sticker, a dollar bill for your piggy-bank.

Good luck with all of your goals: personal, writing, and/or financial. Having a written goal will help you get where you want to go.

If you don’t know where you want to go, take time to contemplate your choices. It’s worth your time. It’ll lead you to greater happiness and self-esteem.



  1. Bob Proctor. You Were Born Rich: http://www.amazon.com/You-Were-Born-Rich-Proctor/dp/1920909028
  2. Earl Nightingale. The Strangest Secret. http://www.amazon.com/The-Strangest-Secret-Earl-Nightingale/dp/161720286X/
  3. Earl Nightingale. The Strangest Secret. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFhkdzj-x80
  4. G.T. Doran (1981). “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives.” Management Review, Volume 70, Issue 11(AMA FORUM), pp. 35-36.
  5. Happy Rock. “Can’t Believe Everything You Read:1953 Yale Goal Study http://www.thehappyrock.com/2007/11/13/cant-believe-everything-you-read-1953-yale-goal-study/
  6. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Chicken Soup for the Soul: http://www.amazon.com/Chicken-Soup-Soul-Jack-Canfield/dp/1558749209
  7. Maxwell Maltz. Psycho-Cybernetics: http://www.amazon.com/Psycho-Cybernetics-New-More-Living-Life/dp/0671700758
  8. Paul J. Meyer (2003).  Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond. Meyer Resource Group, Incorporated. http://books.google.com/books/about/Attitude_Is_Everything.html?id=C2V0OwAACAAJ.
  9. Shanna Freeman. “How to Be Happy with Yourself: Make Attainable Goals” http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/happy-with-yourself2.htm
  10. Sid Savara. “Writing Down Your Goals: Fact or Fiction: The Harvard Written Goal Study. Fact or Fiction?” http://sidsavara.com/personal-productivity/fact-or-fiction-the-truth-about-the-harvard-written-goal-study
  11. S.M.A.R.T. Goals http://longevity.about.com/od/makeachange/p/smartgoal.htm
  12. Wikipedia. “SMART Criteria:”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria

Updated January 20, 2018.

Believe in Yourself
Submit Your Manuscript Today
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2012-2018 Joan Y. Edwards

Please check out my books:
Flip Flap Floodle, Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox?
Joan’s Elder Care Guide A guide to help caregivers and elders never give up

8 thoughts on “Write Down Your Goals”

  1. I definitely have to set goals for myself and stick to them. Without a deadline, my brain wants to do so many other things (like blogging –oops) that get me off track.

    1. Dear Jennifer,
      I’m glad that deadlines help you with your goals. Some people seem to work better without them. It helps me get my mind set right. I’m proud of you for setting your goals and accomplishing them. Celebrate you today!

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

  2. Alas, I could never keep up with your goals! Time was when I wrote three novels a year… but those days are long gone. I applaud your energy, your verve and your goals. Go, girl!

    1. Dear Maureen, Thanks for writing. I applaud you and all you do. Your goals or purposes give you life…Few goals or many. Some people do their goals in their heads and don’t write them down. I’ve done them both ways. It’s amazing to look at the goals I wrote down about four years ago. I didn’t look at them often, but they actually became reality in 3 years. Accepting yourself and enjoying where you are is as important as setting goals, I think. Are you going to the SCBWI-Carolinas Conference in September? I hope we get a chance to talk, if you do. Celebrate you and your many gifts.

      Dream! Love! Laugh! Never Give Up Joan Y. Edwards

    1. Dear Linda, I didn’t see anything in the articles about S.M.A.R.T. goals about how many goals to set. However, some of the people I have read say to focus on one main personal goal, one work goal, one spiritual goal, and one financial goal. Thanks for asking a question. Never Give Up Joan Y. Edwards

  3. Setting smallish goals and sharing them with like-minded writers has been such a huge boost for me, and is one of the reasons I keep a blog. 🙂
    I’ll have to look into the pub-subbers as a way to make progress submitting my work for critique. That is one area that still gives me trouble.
    Thanks for such an insightful post!

    1. Dear Kirsten, I’m glad you posted a comment. Thank you very much. You’re right. Sharing small goals with like-minded people is a huge boost. It’s like each one of them is an added voice that says, “You can do it.” It gives you more courage to say, “I can do it.” Then before long it is accomplished. I’m proud of your achievements. I hope you gain more confidence in submitting your work for critique. Little by little each thing you do will get you to the publication stage.

      Dream! Love! Laugh! Never Give Up Joan Y. Edwards

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