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The power of writing down your goal

This morning I wiped off the chalkboard in my office with original Windex with streak-free shine. I had written a few messages on the chalkboard, notes to myself. Plans, ideas, dreams. One of the items on the chalkboard I had circled  – Adult Coloring Book.


I know the chalkboard is in my office, and I know it was me who wrote down, Adult Coloring Book, with a drawing of a cat. But, it just occurred to me today, that I had written down a goal and finished it.

The power of writing down your goal

Is there some sort of magic to writing down a goal? Steve Maraboli said if you don’t write it down, it’s not a goal, it’s a wish.

“If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you do not have a goal – you have a wish.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

Dominican University of California psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews researched the effectiveness on goal setting if the goals are written down. She discovered that if your goals are written down you are 42 percent more likely to complete your goal.

I wonder if they wrote their notes on a chalkboard or on a piece of paper. Perhaps the 42 percent that finished their goals wrote their goals on a chalkboard and the other 58 percent wrote their goals on a piece of paper that they lost?

Or maybe it wasn’t because they wrote their goals on a chalkboard, maybe they finished because they got tired of thinking, I never finish what I start. There are so many unfinished projects in the basement. I am not very good at finishing.

The words we say and the thoughts we allow to circle in our brain can either help us or hinder us.

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Dr. Matthews found out in her research that if you wrote actionable steps with your goal, shared this steps with a friend, and sent a weekly report to the friend, your chances of finishing your goal rose to 76 percent.

I drew a question mark in the middle of the chalkboard. A question for you. What do you want to write down? What do you want to finish this year?


Tomorrow I will show you what I drew on the chalkboard. Please write down your goal and then share it here. We can encourage each other to finish. I would love to know what you are working on.

Do you finish your goals more often when you write them down?



p.s. I included a photograph of my painting studio so you can see how messy I really am. The room with the chalkboard is where I write.

p.s.s. The coloring book I made is Color the Cats – Forty Real Cats From Around The World and Their Stories
The book is free if you subscribe to my blog. You will receive a link to a pdf of the book in a dropbox file.
Get your FREE coloring book!

The coloring book is $12.99 on Amazon. If you buy the coloring book here, you will help me buy litter for my seven litter boxes, as this link is an affiliate link. 10% of the proceeds from the coloring book go to Animal Rescue. 


I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge. I wonder if writing down the goal of writing every day would help people finish the challenge?
Click on the orange slice to read great slice stories.


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • EmFairley

    Love this post, Pamela! I’ve already shared my short term goal with you; finishing the first edit of my novel by 3-22-16. The longer term goal for that is it’s publication by the end of the year. I’m not sure exactly when yet, so can’t pin it down, but it will be by the end of the year.

    I love the photos of your creative spaces and believe me, they are not messy compared to mine. LOL.

    Em xoxo

    • Hi Em,
      How are the edits going?
      p.s. Will you share a photograph of your messy space?

      • EmFairley

        Hi Pamela,

        I’ve just answered the edit question on the other post 🙂

        I’ll try to remember to take a photo or two of my messy space this weekend when I do some more art work.

        Em xoxo

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  • In the past, I’ve usually lost motivation to pursue a goal whenever I’ve written it down. Maybe because writing it down makes it real, and the sudden realization of all the work it would take to complete it is scary. But that was before I learned that I was a Scanner. Once I gave myself the freedom to pursue projects that interested me without internal reproach, writing down my goals became more enjoyable, because they seem much more attainable.

    • Hello Erica Bennett,
      I wonder if the first goals you wrote down were what you thought you suppose to do. And the goals you wrote down for projects that interested you were attainable because they were more you.
      Being who we are without internal reproach is what makes life more like a sunbeam and less like a rain cloud.
      Here is a toast to being Erica every day!

  • La McCoy


  • GirlGriot

    Psst … I gave Color the Cats to my boss!

    I also believe in writing down goals. I don’t always remember to do it, but I usually do. Something about writing things down cements them in my brain, makes them feel more real. And, too, don’t you just love being able to cross tasks off of a list? I do. So that means I actually have to do stuff! 🙂

    • Hi GirlGriot,
      How fun! I hope your boss likes the coloring book!
      Oh, yes, crossing stuff off of our lists. That is the best part. I just realized we met three years ago because we both were always posting our stories at the last minute. haha

      • GirlGriot

        You’re right! All our just-under-the-wire posts! I’m still on that train, as you can see. 🙂

  • Mandy Robek

    I really enjoyed reading your piece about goals and I’ve heard it before but this time I might just write a goal down. Thank you.

    • Hi Mandy,
      Thank you for your encouragement. Maybe I need to write down, “Finish my story earlier in the day.” Now I will go and find your story.