The Power of Writing Down Your Goals

With the New Year right around the corner, it's time to think about just exactly what you want to achieve in 2017.

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By Matt Mayberry

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Everyone wants to be great and reach achievement milestones, but not everyone is willing to commit to the grueling process that being great requires. Many people give up after one try, one failure. They settle for being average instead of striving and working to be great.

Related: 6 Tips for Goal-Setting That, Trust Me, They Don't Teach You in College

With the New Year right around the corner, and most people starting to think about their resolutions and the goals they want to accomplish in 2017 -- and that includes me -- I want to share a process I go through at the end of each year, in late December. Some people don't know how to set goals, and they certainly don't know how to go about achieving them.

But, for me, nothing has changed my life more than learning how to set goals and then working hard to attain them.

What's important here is the difference between goal-setting and goal achievement. Both are important, but setting goals alone isn't enough. If you write them down on a piece of paper, then put that paper away and never do anything more, you've wasted your time. Instead, you have to take massive action to achieve your goals.

Everywhere I go to speak in the world, I share the following exact same goal-setting process that has shaped my life year after year. This process has helped me achieve almost every major goal that I ever set.

The process

Start by setting a stopwatch or the timer on your phone, for three minutes. This will force you to write your goals down quickly and not dawdle. The point is to eliminate the tendency to start worrying. When we consider the goals we want to achieve, we immediately start thinking about reasons we can't reach those goals.

There will be roadblocks to consider, a lack of money and a million-and-one other obstacles. But don't worry about those things; if you set a stopwatch for three minutes, that short time span will force you to focus and write down what's really in your heart instead of to waste time on the challenges down the road.

The next part of the process is to write down eight to ten goals you want to achieve this time next year. It's good to include some balance on that list with health, fitness, family, leisure and financial and business goals, to name some important considerations. Then circle the one goal that has the potential to completely change the course of your life and serve as a domino effect for every other goal on the list.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win

The "game-changer" goal

Next, identify what I call the game-changer goal. When I first adopted this same process into my life, I was 16 years old and a recovering drug addict. My major goal at the time was to get a Division I college scholarship for football. I knew that achieving that major goal would help me reach every other goal on my list and drastically change my entire life.

After you circle your own game-changer goal, you'll find that the next part of the process is what separates the best of the best from everyone else. Write down 20 to 50 things you need to do to achieve that major goal of yours.

Most people never even think about what they need to do in order to achieve their goals. So, if you are thinking about this, you'll be putting yourself in the small percentage of high achievers and be significantly increasing your odds of success.

After you have completed your action plan of all the things that must happen in order to achieve your game-changer, you should start transfering one to two tasks a day onto your daily task list. Once you have your game plan ready to go, your overall task is all about taking massive action and being relentless each and every day until you get to where you want to go.

Related: There Is a Big Difference Between Setting Goals and Achieving Goals

Goal-setting has completely changed my life, and it can do the same for you. Want more detail on this process? See my book, Winning Plays.

Matt Mayberry

Speaker and Maximum Performance Strategist. CEO of Matt Mayberry Enterprises

A former NFL linebacker for the Chicago Bears, Matt Mayberry is currently a keynote speaker, peak-performance strategist and writer. As the CEO of Matt Mayberry Enterprises, a training and consulting company, he specializes in maximizing the performance of individuals and organizations all over the world. He published his first book, Winning Plays, in 2016. You can contact him and learn more at mattmayberryonline.com.

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