There’s something so satisfying about starting with a clean slate, a fresh perspective, and setting new goals. That’s what the start of each new year gives us. Meanwhile, we often start with the best intentions and then lose track somewhere along the way.
Here are some things to think about for 2022 goal planning.
- Deal with challenges – The way we reach our goals is to face our challenges. Working through these issues is the only way we change, and we become better people when we overcome them.
- Focus on an aspiration – We lose interest in life when we have nothing to work towards. Find something challenging that you want to accomplish to bring to the world.
- Set a deadline – Knowing when we want our goals accomplished helps us stay focused, engaged, and interested in our story.
How can we stack the odds in our favor to achieve our new goals? Neuroscience explains the need to write down our goals with the steps to achieve them. Many of us may have heard of a survey, attributed to Harvard, where before graduation:
- 84% of the entire class had made no goals
- 13% of the class had written goals but had no details on how to achieve them
- 3% of the class had both written goals and details plans
Ten years later, the 13% of the class that had set written goals but had not created plans, were making twice as much money as the 84% of the class that had set no goals at all. However, the 3% that had both written goals and a plan, had 10 times more success than 97% of the class.
When we write things down, we are creating external storage and encoding. External storage is taking our written goals and placing the piece of paper in a location that is easy to access and review at any time. These goals can be posted in our office, on the refrigerator, or next to our computer or all the above. Staring at our goals every single day will give us a visual cue that helps the brain remember.
The deeper phenomenon of encoding is a biological process where the things we perceive travel to the brain’s hippocampus, where they are analyzed. In the hippocampus, decisions are made about what we store in our long-term memory, and what gets discarded. Writing improves the encoding process, and another chance for our goals to be remembered.
Setting ourselves up for success takes a few simple steps. Address a challenge. Focus on something aspirational. Set a deadline. Write down goals in vivid detail. Study after study shows we remember things better when we do, and will be victorious in reaching our goals.
Here’s to you in 2022!