What Does Losing Weight and Accomplishing Business-Related Goals Have in Common?

Which simple, old-fashioned strategy makes it more likely that you’ll lose weight? Keep your New Year’s resolution? Meet that business goal at work? The simple act of writing it down makes it more likely. Anecdotally, my experience is that those clients who write down their goals and plans for change tend to accomplish more than those who don’t. Intuitively it makes sense: committing a goal to paper means that you think it through, articulate it, and probably take time to refine it.

Research backs this up. According to a study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write down their goals.

And does it make a difference if you capture your objectives on a laptop or by hand in a notebook? Probably. While digital devices are more convenient, there are real benefits to taking notes by hand. On a laptop, people tend to write transcripts while notes taken by hand allow us to capture ideas in our own words and to remember them better. To learn more about the advantages of note taking by hand, read this recent HBR post by Maggy McGloin.