Should You Write Down Your Goals? (article)

goldmedal1How important is writing down your goals? Well. Linda Thom, Olympic champion in pistol shooting in the 1984 Olympics from Canada, credits writing down her goal to win the gold as critical to her success. I had the honor of teaching her in 1983 and introducing the concept of the Goal Statement to the Canadian team in a seminar in Toronto. Here is an excerpt of Linda’s article written after the 1984 games.

A turning point was a clinic which I attended in February 1983. The clinic was given in Toronto by┬áLanny Bassham, who is a World Champion rifle shooter from the U.S. Out of his own competitive difficulties, experienced at the 1972 Olympics; he had dug around and developed what he calls, “The tools of mental management.” That man really spoke to me.

One thing he said was so important, “You’ve got to write it out. In this country and the United States too, we don’t write our goals out.” We’re a very literate society otherwise, but we don’t seem to write our goals out.

One of the most important things he found useful for himself was to write out the goal in the first person, present tense. “I am the 1984 Olympic Gold medalist in Ladies Match Pistol,” in my particular case. And he said, “Write it out in your diary every night, every single night, and one of two things will happen, either you won’t believe it and you’ll stop writing it, or you’ll keep on writing it and you’ll succeed.” But he said, “It really works.”

Although I have a journalism degree, I don’t like sitting down and writing and I have to make an effort, but I did make an effort to write my goals in my diary. For 18 months I wrote that I was the Olympic Champion, every single night in my diary, and it came true. It helped me grapple with myself and my image of myself as a champion.

“Imagine yourself on the podium,” he said. “You have won. You know it’s behind you now. The flag is going up and the anthem is being played. There are the reporters and they’re interviewing you. Visualize all of these things, and savor them.”

“Act as if you are going back over your life, the gods have given you the chance to relive this. You’ve won it. It’s yours. You’ve got the gold medal. But the gods are giving you the chance to relive and savor your experiences.” You can say, “Hey, I can enjoy this. I’m not just in a headlong rush.” I can also notice the other things in life and enjoy the little steps along the way.

A Goal Statement is a sentence written in the first person present tense about something you want to have happen. Here are some other examples; I am debt free. I follow through on every shot. I recover well. I savor my successes and forget my failures.

Are you writing down what you want to have happen in your life? Doing it only one time isn’t enough. Linda found that the real power came from repeatedly writing down her Goal Statement every day for 18 months. Think of the imprinting her Self Image received from these few minutes every day. She felt that it was worth it. How badly do you want your goals?

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