I don’t know about you, but I will remember things better when I write them down. Somehow, the act of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard improves my recall. In school, I was a diligent note taker, and that seemed to pay off for me at test time. The same thing holds true to this day when I find myself sitting in a seminar. Despite the fact that “the handouts will be distributed at the end,” I have a need to take notes.
As it turns out, there’s actually some science and research that supports the impact of writing things down. It has to do with making a commitment, and whether your commitment is active or passive. An active commitment is one that’s written. If you actually write that you’re going to do something, you are far more likely to actually do it. If you simply talk or think about doing something, you haven’t “put any skin in the game” in a manner of speaking. Now the task of writing may not seem like much effort, but it pays off.
According to research cited in Yes! 50 Scientifically Ways to Be Persuasive, people tend to make judgments about themselves based on their own behavior, and their inferences run deeper when it’s based on action (writing) versus non-action (speaking or thinking). It goes back to the foundation that we work, consciously or subconsciously, to align our actions with our expectations.
How can you put this to use? The next time you’re setting goals, whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or a professional goal that’s set at the start of a quarter or fiscal year, write it down. You’re far more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written. Want to take that even further? Write it down and post it where you can see it every day. Want to improve your chance for success even more? Tell someone about your goal. Whether or not that person holds you accountable to achievement doesn’t matter. By going public with your goal, you enhance your accountability to yourself.
When your goal is to improve your business communication, launch your blog or newsletter, or finally get that book you’ve been thinking about written, contact me for help. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 484-769-889. Now write that down….
*by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini