Write goals and keep them close

Do you write goals?

If you don’t write goals, how will you know where you’re going?

My wife and I were moving house a couple of weeks ago. Our lives were in transition for a few days, living from tarp like bags and boxes with all of our worldly possessions. In our living room, we sold almost every piece of furniture not screwed down.

In the end, we would move into our new house. So, the tiredness, inconvenience and feeling of homelessness while we were moving would all pay off. We could see the pot of fruit loops at the end of the rainbow.

One morning when we had our things packed up ready to go, I was getting ready for work. I started to panic that I was running late.

Clocks keep you on time

I looked up where our vintage clock previously sat on he bookshelf and it was gone. Looking around for the smaller clock we kept on the hall stand, that had been packed up too. I couldn’t even see the bottom right corner of the TV from where I was getting ready because we had sold the stand right from underneath it. “How would I know if I was early or late?” I thought to myself.

My clock usually kept me on time. I knew how long I had before work and what time I had to leave. I knew the ideal time to have a shower, sip of my coffee and a shave. Even the ideal time to brush my teeth and put my shoes on. But on this day I felt a bit lost.

I had so many unknowns. Would I get to work on time? Did I have enough time to eat breakfast at home? Could I watch Home and Away re-runs before work or would I have to record them? I’m just kidding. I don’t watch Home and Away. My wife watches it. No, really.

Anyway… I was a bit lost that morning, until I found my watch. My feelings of panic started to disappear as soon as I could see I was on time. Mini crisis averted. I got to work on time but I probably would have struggled if I didn’t find my watch.

Calendars mark important dates

When I arrived at work that day, I checked my calendar to remind myself of any upcoming meetings. I keep my calendar close at hand (actually, I use a smartphone calendar) and set reminders to keep me on track.

Imagine if I wrote dozens of my most important appointments for the year in a paper diary and then stuffed it down in a drawer for the next 12 months. What are the chances I would be on time for every appointment? Probably not that great. In some cases, I would probably forget who I was meeting, where I was meeting them and the purpose of the meeting.

Imagine if we did the same thing with our goals. Just wrote them down and stuffed them in a folder or drawer for the year. Oh wait -most people do! Or worse still, they don’t write goals in the first place. Following are a few reasons your should write goals and keep them handy to refer back to.

Why you need to write goals

There are many reasons to write goals, instead of just keeping them in your head. Aim, progress, accuracy and accountability are a few that come to mind.

Write goals to clarify

When you write goals, you clarify exactly what your target is and at what point in time you expect to make it. Not only does the end point become clear but so does the path to get you there.

Write goals to measure

Once you have defined your end point, you can also set milestones along the way. Instead of waiting until the deadline for a major goal, you can check your progress along the way against these smaller steps. Think about the purpose of the minutes and seconds hands on a clock (although there are possibly many). Most of your appointments might be on the hour, however, if you check the minutes and seconds hands before the appointment you will know if you’re on track.

Write goals for accuracy

Accuracy improves when you write goals. If you don’t write goals, it’s too easy to shift the goal posts depending on your mood or what you think at the time is realistic. If you allow other people to take control and set your goals, (a manager for example) they will probably shift the goal posts on you too. I remember once that I doubled the sales required according to one of my sales targets. But instead of being praised or rewarded, one of my managers decided the original target was no longer good enough. So, in their eyes I failed. Imagine how I felt. How could I ever be successful if the goal posts would shift every time I kicked a goal?

Write goals for accountability

Take ownership of your goals. You improve your chances of success when you accept responsibility for your goals and hold yourself accountable for success or failure. Set a big goal but one that’s actionable. Set a goal that’s within your control.

Take ownership

Of all the reasons for getting your goals on paper, accepting ownership of end results is the most important. You will always face external forces. Some will set you back and some will push you forward but they will often be beyond your control. Writing your goals is the first step to taking responsibility for what happens to you. There are some things you can control, so focus on those.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” -Theodore Roosevelt.

Some people believe in fate. That outcomes can’t be altered. Chances are, if you’re not setting goals, you’re not leaving it up to fate. Instead, you’re falling into someone else’s plan. What someone else wants to happen, is not necessarily what is meant to happen.

Write goals. Keep them close.


    How to get motivated now

    How to get motivated

    How to get motivated by taking action. When you improve your behaviour, you can boost your mood and motivation.

    I was feeling unmotivated at work for a few days, so I revisited what I know about motivation. I managed to improve my mood in a single day by practicing some of the following techniques.

    We all have times when we feel down and we need to recall how to get motivated. Self help books teach you to ‘be positive’ but I believe that’s an over-simplification of an otherwise good philosophy. After all, I do believe the quicker you can bounce back from negative thinking, the faster you get back on track to achieving your goals.

    “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it” -Lou Holtz, retired American football coach, active sports caster, motivational speaker and author.

    How to get motivated now

    I’m going share some practical ideas with you on how to get motivated. I have used every one of these techniques, multiple times. I have found that just one of these actions can significantly improve my mood and my motivation.

    Do the very thing you have been avoiding

    Don’t fear doing something because you imagine the ‘worst case scenario’. Force yourself to take action and you may just conquer that fear. I have pushed myself to do things I don’t particularly want to do at times because I knew they had to be done. Cold calls, presentations, fitness tests and shooting tests (for a different job) all began with me taking action, even though I was nervous to start.

    • Gordon Livingston M.D. wrote a book called, The Thing You Think You Cannot Do, in which he describes fear as a corrosive influence and how we can overcome that fear. I recommend you read his book if you need help to overcome your fear.

    Write a daily journal

    Keep a daily journal of things that motivate you. Try writing about what you are thankful for, what I want to achieve and occasionally unanswered questions or insights you have. The American Psychological Association previously found evidence that expressive writing does in fact boost health and helps people deal with stress.

    Behave as if you’re motivated

    I’m currently reading a great book called Change Your Thinking by Sarah Edelman, PhD. In her book, Edelman describes the link between emotions and behaviour as bilateral; meaning emotions affect our behaviours and behaviours affect our emotions. Start behaving as if you’re already motivated. Smile, stand up straight, make eye contact and be positive in your tone of voice.

    Break your goals into smaller pieces

    Break your goals down into smaller milestones, so you can celebrate small victories along the way. Christopher Bergland calls these ‘micro’ goals, as opposed to ‘macro’ (the bigger) goals in his article on Psychology Today. I have tried this approach myself and found it has helped me in several areas of my life.

    Take a break and find some solitude

    Switch off all of the outside noise and give yourself time to think. Walk somewhere, do some light exercise or sit quietly in a park. Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D., states solitude helps us concentrate and be more productive. It’s no coincidence that people say, “I need to go for a walk and clear my head”. I do exactly that when I need some clarity.

    Soak up some morning sun

    Sit in the morning sunlight, while you read your book or enjoy your coffee. My Fiancé Kayla, a psychology student at the time, pointed out that morning sunlight has mood improving benefits. I found a helpful article outlining a few mood lifting benefits of getting more sun. Read more in ‘What are the benefits of sunlight?’ by Rachel Nall. 

    Visualise your success and create a vision board if necessary

    Visualise what you want. Visualisation is so important, I wrote about it in my own book, Time to Start. I have visualised my own goals in the past, sometimes without even realising it! Construct a successful outcome in your own mind and it will improve your chances of success. AJ Adams, MAPP, has written an article called, ‘Seeing is believing. The power of visualisation’, in which she describes some uses, examples and benefits of visualisation.

    “Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind” -William James, American philosopher, psychologist and physician.

    I am not flawless, always happy or always upbeat. I have bounced back from feeling unmotivated or flat because I have adopted these techniques myself.

    Try a few of the ideas above if you are struggling to get motivated. Act on these ideas. Don’t just read them. Knowing how to get motivated will not help you, unless you put this knowledge into action. Maybe today is the day for you to get your mojo back!



    Top 7 inspirational quotes for work

    We’ve rounded up our top 7 inspirational quotes for work. Any time you need some motivation, you can print a quote out or save it as your desktop background.

    Cynthia Kyriazis inspirational quotes for work












    One of my first inspirational quotes for work is a quote about being organised. “It’s not about clearing your desk. It’s about clearing your mind for more important things” -Cynthia Kyriazis.

    Dalai Lama inspirational quotes for work











    The second of my inspirational quotes for work is about fulfilment and happiness. “People take different roads to seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost” -Dalai Lama XIV.

    Jim Rohn inspirational quotes for work











    One of my favourite inspirational quotes for work is about life plans. “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much!” -Jim Rohn.

    Lewis Carol inspirational quotes for work











    No list of motivational quotes would be complete without some input on life purpose. Lewis Carol said it best…  “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

    Mark Twain inspirational quotes for work











    Mark Twain’s words of wisdom about your life’s purpose have to be added to the list… “The two most important days in your life are the day you’re born and the day you find out why.”

    Oprah Winfrey inspirational quotes for work











    One of the world’s most successful talk show hosts and media mogul Oprah Winfrey reminds us about the importance of focus… “You can do it all. Just not all at once.”

    Tony Robbins inspirational quotes for work











    If ever you need a reminder that you are in control of your life, it’s this. “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped” -Tony Robbins.

    I hope you find some motivation in the inspirational quotes for work that I have shared above. Please share your favourite quotes with friends, print them for the office or save them to your desktop. If you take nothing else with you, remember this final quote from Benjamin Franklin. “Well done is better than well said.”