There’s an art and a science to goal writing that might just determine whether you achieve them or not.



The artful and scientific side both gravitate towards the idea that writing your goals down with pen and paper — rather than typing on a keyboard — might just mean the difference between succeeding and failing.

It’s thought that writing goals with pen and paper sends a powerful signal to your subconscious — the part of your mind that determines your reality — a connection that just isn’t made with modern technology.

Arguments that technology makes us more stupid aside — such as leaving 90% of us with digital amnesia — who can deny the intensely emotional and personal experience of writing down your dreams on a beautiful blank page?


Think in ink, said Marilyn Monroe.


For some reason thinking in ink kickstarts the mechanisms — the quantum fields around you — that assemble the people & events that  help make your goals a reality.

Even Srini Rao from The Unmistakable Creative Podcast agrees that there’s some kind of magic at play, coaxing greater truth and honesty from within:


There’s a sense of permanence to putting something in pen on paper. It keeps you honest. You hear your voice more; what is truly there; there’s more depth & authenticity. You can always put it on computer. The Instigator Experience started in my Moleskin.


Somehow writing with pen and paper feels more special, more magical, more EMOTIONAL.

And perhaps that’s why it’s so powerful.

If it’s activating our emotional brain — the limbic system — it affects the way we think, and the way we think determines how we act. So if we’re emotionally attached to our goals we’ll take the actions that turn them into reality.

Maybe it’s as simple as that.

Even scientists acknowledge the powerful cognitive processing at play when we write versus when we type:


“Handwriting is a complex task which requires various skills – feeling the pen and paper, moving the writing implement, and directing movement by thought,” Edouard Gentaz, professor of developmental psychology at the University of Geneva told the Guardian in 2014.


Roland Jouvent adds in the same article:


“There is an element of dancing when we write, a melody in the message, which adds emotion to the text. After all that’s why emoticons were invented, to restore a little emotion to text messages.”


Have you written down your 2018 goals yet?


goal writing

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


This is one of the many inspiring things I learned about — and from — Marilyn Monroe, a prolific writer and journal keeper whose heart and soul and dreams and letters and poems were immortalised in ink on paper — and posthumously published in Fragments — sidelining the gradual unfolding of her stardom and fame.

Whether you have 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, 1-year, 3-year or 5-year goals, as soon as you commit them to paper in your own handwriting the magic unfolds…

Here are the magical 4 steps to writing goals that manifest miracles.

#1: Write your goals in pen on real paper.


Use purple, pink, gold ink.

I love the Uni-Glo Signo Range. (Save black & blue for the corporate world.)

Somehow I think it activates a heady mix of hope & faith, an action-inducing blend that kickstarts you on your path.

I’ve experienced it myself over and over again — in fact every time I commit to a goal and write it down — and heard dozens of entrepreneurs, small business owners, athletes and creatives from all areas agree:


People who achieve and succeed create goals. Writing them down is like sealing the deal.

#2: Start any time you like. (January is just a decoy)


You don’t have to start in January.

Your goal year can run from April to March if you want. Your 12 months can start when you start it.

You can also re-write them every month to refine and remind yourself; to intensify and embellish the goal, fill it with more detail.

But start whenever you want.

I’ve created a nifty goal-planning tool for you in the Starter Kit.

The worksheet I’ve created will challenge you to articulate and expand your goals to all the 15 areas of your life.

You can download it here.


#3: Create a vision for all 15 areas of your life


This is where the goal planner I made you comes in handy…

Most people create goals around career, money and family, but there are 15 areas that must be considered so that you can have a full, thriving, rich and abundant life.

Once you’ve articulated 3-5 goals in each area, you can pick one from each to work towards. That way all your bases are covered and you can plan to thrive on all levels.

The areas you usually neglect will come to life again; and that usually has a ripple effect in every other area too.

Once you’ve completed the worksheet you’ll have a planning tool that will guide you to take the right action around your goals within specific time frames. It makes goal-setting and goal-getting non-negotiable.

And achievable.


#4: Write in the present or past tense


This is a particularly effective trick for the brain: write as if you’ve already accomplished your goals. When you believe it’s already done, it takes on it’s own momentum.

In the past:

I made $100K + this year.

I worked with over 100+ clients this year.

I learned how to nourish myself easily and tastily.

I ran my first marathon!

In the present:

I have over $50K in savings 

I work with 20 clients a month

I workout 20 mins every morning

I have 2 books published and counting!


#5: Write as much or as little as you like


I have monosyllabic people in my life, one-line people, and essayists.

Whatever your communication style, write as much or as little as you like.

But if you’re an essayist, you might consider writing a short version as well, so you can…


#6: Read your goals every day


Keep your goals visible and read them morning and evening.

Maybe you have a list of bullets.

Maybe you have a paragraph that encapsulates the picture of your life with all your goals accomplishes.

Maybe you have several paragraphs.

Keep them fresh in your mind by reading them twice a day.

Try it for two months and see what happens for you. It’ll steep your consciousness


Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. As you read — see and feel and believe yourself already…[having, being, doing what you aim for]. — Napolean Hill, Think And Grow Rich


If you start this TODAY, then TOMORROW will feel like the start of your new year.

It’s never too late to start writing goals for 2018. Or any year.

Whenever you read this post, think of it as a 12-month planner.


Your 12-month goal planner that starts when you start #thefreedomphilosophy #goals #planner Click To Tweet


Whenever you’re ready, just go ahead and write your goals in ink.


Are you an avid goal writer? How has writing goals in ink on paper helped you manifest miracles?


“Write your goals in pen but your plans in pencil.” — Greg S. Reid.


Do you have a dream, goal or decision to make but tend to get overwhelmed or flustered when it comes to taking action?

Stephanie Holland Marketing Consultant

Hey, I’m Stephanie. And I’m your greatest ally.

I have a unique gift for simplifying complexity, powerful perspective shifts, uncovering hidden opportunities, and crafting the immediate next steps that fast track your goals.

Find about more about my mentoring sessions here, or send me a note and we can connect for a 15 min call to discover how I might be able to work with you to achieve your goals.

Find out more


Other posts in this Life Planning Series:

How To Write Goals That Manifest Miracles (and a FREE Planner To Get You Started)

6 Epic Travel Strategies for Solo Entrepreneurs and Corporate Misfits

5 Ways to Plan More Freedom Into Your Career

13 Life Hacks that Amplify the Impact of Your Life and Work

What Kind of Life Do You Want? Practical Lifestyle Design in 3 Simple Steps


Image: Carli Jeen via Unsplash

Stephanie Holland
Stephanie Holland

I'm a strategist & traveler obsessed with thriving on all levels and helping fellow entrepreneurs launch their ideas with more ease, vision and likelihood of success.