Ready for 2020? One thing every goal needs

Goal setting is no easy job >> especially in ministry when the needs are so great! Which goals are the right goals? What if they are too big and people think we’re crazy? What if we set goals, but fail to reach them? When you think about goals you may believe that …

  • We can answer all the questions.
  • We have a great vision.
  • We have the best intentions.
  • We plan great things.

But, without this one thing your goals may stay invisible . . 

Write down your goals! You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. You can see your vision in your mind’s eye, but essentially vision is invisible to anyone around you. If you want to translate the invisible into the visible realities of your 2020 >> first, set your goals; then, write them down.

No brainer, right? I’ve filled out the goal form, followed the SMART format in time to get my slice of the ministry budget. Whew! Done. One year I did it totally different. Instead of just filling out the form, I wrote my goals as a story of what would be different if I achieved the goal. It stretched my thinking and forced me to find the right words to actually articulate what I meant. That goal stuck with me. THIS is the kind of goal writing that makes your goal achievement 42% more likely. Why? Because that kind of writing will require you to do three things:

Sharpen Your Focus

Goals that are unclear are elusive. The process of writing, re-writing, and editing your goals will make clear what is “mission critical”. Stretch yourself to articulate your ideas in ways that describe the reality of your goal. Use a vision board, try “freewriting”, write your goal in 2 or 3 different ways to get clear. Then, bottom-line it into a clear statement >> your goal. 

Find the Gaps

Ideas in our head are often missing important details that are needed to make the intangible tangible in ministry or personal development. As you write them down, step back and notice what is missing. Ask someone else what questions this goal leaves unanswered for them. Use this information to help make your goal more significant and relevant.

Remember What’s Important

Thinking through the words to clearly express your goal along with writing it out encodes the goal in your brain >> increasing the likelihood you will remember the goal. A memorable goal works in the background helping you notice the necessary elements required to achieve it.

“People who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals than people who don’t”.

~Mark Murphy

Next Steps

Write down clear, specific and memorable goals and everything will shift. Want to take it deeper? Ask these three questions about your written goal: 

  1. Why is this important to me? 
  2. How will I make this happen?
  3. What one thing will I do today to get started? 

Look at your goal and ask these same questions every day and see what happens. Comment below about your goal-writing experience. What works for you? What doesn’t work?


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Annie Perdue Olson

Annie is founder of Leading Better Together, guiding leaders through the relationship and people challenges that sidetrack ministry. With 20+ years of experience in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry she equips people and teams to work better together. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from St. Thomas University and received her coaching certification from the Center for Coaching Excellence.

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  1. […] not simply about writing your goal down, though in One Thing Every Goal Needs, I reflected on how writing it down is an important element for goal achievement. Additionally, how […]

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