Norton Seal Man using computer to write down goals

Support For Your Dream

The Power of Writing Down Your Goals and Dreams

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.

How SMART Goal Setting Works & Why You Should Write Goals Down

The SMART goal process is all about putting your goals into writing and building a realistic path towards achieving your objectives. Why should you write down your goals? Well, visually seeing them helps to make them feel tangible. Designating a notebook and putting pen to paper can be a really powerful thing.

And, although it may seem like an elementary concept, it’s a truly helpful tool when it comes to actually achieving the goals you set out to accomplish. With actionable and descriptive ways of building out your dreams, you’ll move towards your goals with more than just a whim to guide you. You’ll be able to fine-tune your objectives and describe them in detail — both of which help your dreams to take shape and eventually, take flight!

How to Write Down Your Goals

Not sure where to start? Here are just some of the ways actually writing down your SMART goals can benefit you and help make a big impact on your dreams.

Be specific with your dreams


Visualize the end goal of the dream you’ve been contemplating and clearly write it down in black and white. This step matters more than you think. Put a plan into motion for making things happen by drilling into detail on what you want. On the opposite page, draw a picture of your goal.

The more you can build out your goal, the better your odds of understanding what it’s going to take to make it happen.

Track your progress


Now that you’ve laid out where you want to go and how you want to get there, feel free to use our complimentary dream builder journal to track your forward progress. As much as you’ve put words around how you intend to make your dreams a reality, describe the process of how you’re actually doing it now. Writing those details down on paper will help you to understand what works best for you as you move forward.

Set realistic expectations to sharpen your focus


It’s easy to shoot for the moon when you’re dreaming about what you want and where you want to be. The truth is, you’ve got to ground your dreams in reality. This doesn’t mean you can’t dream big, but it may mean you’ll need to temper your goals and objectives with a healthy dose of realism. You know what you’re capable of, and better — you know how far you can go if you push a little harder.

One way to stay on-target is to keep your dreams in front of you. Writing down your dream and displaying it somewhere you’ll see it every day — like taped to your fridge or tacked up next to your desk — will help you keep your goals top-of-mind. It’s a great way to stay motivated and advance confidently towards what you’ve set out to do. No excuses!

Set time-bound deadlines

Realistic dreams_writing 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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Related Topics: Passions , Personal Development