Verbalize Your Goals:  Why This Is So Vital

Forbes shares a story about a study done in the Harvard MBA Program.  A group of graduate students were asked if they have a clear set, written goal for their future, and if they have a specific plan to transform that goal into a reality.  The study found that only 3 percent of these graduate students had written goals and plans.  Among the others, only 13 percent had goals in their minds but hadn’t written them down, and 84 percent had no identifiable goal at the time.  

After ten years, the same group was interviewed and the results are pretty remarkable.  The 13 percent who had goals, but not written down, earned twice as much on average as the 84 percent who had no goals.  However, the 3 percent who had goals AND had expressed those goals, earned on average 10 times more than the other 97 percent of the group.  

Now I’m a big believer in verbalizing your goals, and here this story is a good reflection of the same concept.  Verbalizing a goal to someone else is one step further than even writing it down.  If the results are that effective for just writing down a goal, consider the possibilities if you verbalize it to someone else!  

We all have journeys we’re on and often those journeys involve big, scary goals.  For me, pursuing the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, was a HUGE goal.  It was big and quite frankly, very scary to pursue.  It would require rigorous discipline, focus, hard work, and a whole slew of emotions.  But one of the keys to moving forward in this goal was to verbalize it.  If you have a goal in mind, verbalizing can be the most powerful first step you take and here’s why.

  • Name Your Goal – Often we talk about goals in terms of vague desires.  However, when you verbalize a goal, your unconscious mind has to organize the thoughts into something concrete that others can comprehend.  This process of organizing your thoughts is vital because YOU end up comprehending the goal that much more too!
  • Accountability  – Accountability is perhaps the best byproduct of verbalizing a goal.  It is a vulnerable thing to do, but in speaking and sharing your goal, you give someone else in your life the ability to ask you how you are doing in reaching the goal.  Often, the mere thought of letting someone else down is enough to get you in gear to working toward your goal!
  • Deadlines – Verbalizing a goal usually puts a timeframe in your mind.  Saying you want to launch your own business can be very fluid, but if you talk about it with others, you’re going to want to add in a timeframe of launching your own business by this time next year.  It’s amazing how conversation on these topics naturally warrants filling in the blanks on things that you might have left empty if you were just talking to yourself alone.  Your unconscious brain’s job is to identify what you want and then immediately take action to get it. .  
  • Accountability to Yourself When you verbalize a goal and hear it over and over, your unconscious brain continually hears it and goes into action to make it happen. Thoughts pop into your head, you see opportunities and people that can help you achieve your goal that you never saw before. Verbalization also unlimits your beliefs that you CAN do it. It becomes known because you are saying it.

My journey to Kona for the Ironman Triathlon was not something that happened overnight, but as the thought grew in my mind, and finally came out of my lips, it became a real thing.  This real thing took me on the most amazing journey culminating in opening my world and the life I was meant to live.


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