Man using computer to write down goals

Write Down Your Goals

Updated January 2, 2021 . AmFam Team

Writing down your goals will help make them a reality. Learn how to write down your goals and the benefits of doing so from American Family.

Henry David Thoreau said it best: "If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavors to live the life which they’ve imagined, they’ll meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” This mid-1800s inspiring quote holds true today. Getting serious about your dreams is as simple as writing down your goals — that act alone can really help to bring your dreams alive.

There’s a lot of science that helps to back up Thoreau’s big philosophical idea. SMART goals are proven to help realize your potential, and when you write down your goals, it becomes a well-documented system that gets tangible results. This goal setting process has been utilized by ambitious dreamers since the 1950s.

SMART helps to identify a pathway toward your dreams with Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-sensitive (or SMART) objectives. And writing your goals on paper helps you visualize and emotionally connect with them. Learn more about SMART goals and why you should write them down.

Once you write down your SMART goals, be sure to include a due date onto those notes you’re placing up around your home. You’ll find the reminders mean more when you’re holding yourself accountable to getting that hard work done. Soon, you’ll see the fruits of your labor start to emerge.

And when they do, be sure to celebrate these incremental victories. If you’re up for it, share your progress on social media. Friends and acquaintances can be a real motivator to help you keep your dreams on track. Remember, with the right support system, you can do almost anything!

Make a space on a wall or your fridge for these accomplishments as they graduate from goals to reality. You’ll find momentum and new capacity with this tactic, and it can help to accelerate your progress and focus your determination. Best of all, you’ll find that you really can achieve those lofty goals.

Document How You Made it Happen

After writing down your dreams, it’s always good to follow up and reflect on the entire goal-setting process afterwards. Dig into the way you worked by exploring your dream journal entries. Review what it took to achieve your milestones, your setbacks, your new ideas and explore the way your process may have shifted overall, as you moved towards your goals.

Documenting your experiences along the way can inform you of your progress and enable you to better understand what worked and what didn’t for you. And most importantly, you’ll know how to better accomplish future goals.

So, allow your ideas to begin flowing and take that first step in your dream pursuit — all it takes is a pen, some paper and a little dose of passion. Here’s to Dreaming Fearlessly!

Want more tips and motivation? Our collection of self-improvement tools and resources will help support and guide you along any dream pursuit.

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