#paperrocks: why writing down goals works.

anybody else LOVE playing rock paper scissors growing up? to this day, i still see this child’s play as a truly viable way of making day-to-day decisions. disagreement with your kiddo (or heck, even business partner) on where to have dinner?  perplexed on which shoes to buy?  which workout to do? throw down some rock paper scissors. i’m tellin’ you, this is a highly under-rated way of taking quick action.

now, if only setting serious life goals were that easy. but i truly believe, that sometimes we make it too hard. what if i were to tell you that the only thing standing between you + your goals was a little thing called paper.

it’s no secret that i strongly believe in writing down your goals. i mean, the whole concept behind fitbook is write it down, make it happen.  i’m truly obsessed with pen + paper. like, all things paper. (journals, making hand-made cards, anything letterpress, collecting paper. heck, paper source is my favorite store!)

so i teamed up with fellow entrepreneur + paper pro whitney english (you may know her as the brilliant mind behind the day designer) to discuss why #paperrocks. this serial entrepreneur with over a dozen companies under her belt, is my mentor-turned-friend. we had a fab chat and as promised, i wanted to post the highlight reel+ links to the research i mentioned during our hour-long hangout:

  • paper works. plain + simple: a harvard mba study revealed that students who wrote down their goals earned 10x as much than the ones who hadn’t. this doesn’t apply to just how much money you make. this applies to ANY goal!
  • stack those habits: this experience life article sums it up really well, but the main idea is that you take your existing habits and build upon them to help create NEW habits.  here are a few examples: “every sunday while i’m prepping food,  i will plan my workouts for the week in my fitbook lite.or how about: “every morning while i’m waiting for my tea/coffee to brew, i will jot down the top 3 things i need to do today.”  you identify things you do every day/week/month (that are already built into your life) and attach a NEW habit so it becomes second nature.
  • 90 days is the magic number:  research shows that 12 weeks is a long enough period of time to see significant progress toward any goal, but short enough to stay motivated.  attainable goals for 3 months turn into life long habits. think it’s a mere coincidence that fitbook is 12 weeks? i think not.
  • dangle (baby) carrots: a study from USC found that setting a variety of mini prizes was more effective in reaching goals than setting one BIG reward. so reward yourself small + often!
  • grab a pen + tell a pal: this article on the habits of the world’s smartest people via entrepreneur magazine found that 76% of people who wrote down their goals AND shared them with a friend were more likely to achieve them.  accountability buddies rock!  so after you grab a pen + write it down, call/email/text a friend, or heck even post it for friends to see. but most importantly: ask 1 person specifically to help hold you accountable – and while you’re at it, ask how you can help hold them accountable to their goals! #winwin
  • paper + technology = winning combo:  as with anything, this isn’t all or nothing, people. both whitney + myself shared our fave apps during the chat + talk about how we use technology in conjunction WITH (not in replace of) our paper-based, goal-getting goods.  we both use our phones with iCal for managing our schedule…i use trello for managing team projects…and my jawbone app works perfectly with my fitbook to keep me movin’ + motivated.  but when it comes to to-do lists, goals + things you want to achieve, don’t poo-poo the idea of good ol’ fashioned pen + paper.

what is your#1 top goal-getting tip? or what did you learn from watching my chat with whitney?  share in the comments below.

in closing: a tip when playing rock paper scissors (shhh…)…throw the same one all 3 times and go for best of three. try it…it works! just don’t throw scissors, or rocks for that matter. go with paper. ’cause #paperrocks.


p.s. need something inspiring to watch while you’re doing some cardio at the gym? tune in to the video below for more inside tips from a goal-getting convo between two entrepreneurs!

p.p.s. does youtube hire someone to pick the most unflattering screen-captures when posting videos? i want that job.

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