Etching Your Goals Into Your Memory
July 23, 2021

Etching Your Goals Into Your Memory

The R.O.O.T.E.D. Goal Setting System helps you to identify and reverse-engineer essentialist goals that bridge the gap between the future you want and the life you’re living right now.

Sustainable, Life-Giving Goals Are:

92% of people don't accomplish their New Years Resolutions. The world gets super pumped about goal-setting on New Years day, vows flying left and right that we'll cut refined sugar, increase our incomes, or start reading to our kids every day. But then, around January 17th (which has been officially dubbed as 'Ditch Your Resolution Day'), goals begin dropping like flies.

Why is this?

Life picks up steam, the obstacles start mounting, and the habits start slipping. After a few days of falling off the bandwagon, many people honestly just begin to question why their goals mattered to them so much in the first place. And after a few weeks of lapsing, their goals are left in the dust of the first quarter, forgotten.

You don't want this, and we don't want this for you. This is why Evergreen Planner exists—it's a hub for you to get organized around your goals, and keep them top of mind.

Let's dive into a proven blueprint for etching your goals into your memory so they remain strongly relevant to your daily choices.

Write It Down

Studies show that "vividly" writing down your goals makes you 42% more likely to achieve them.

By imagining your goal, and then putting in the cognitive effort to describe them in written format, you experience what's called the "generation effect"—a double-processing effort that helps to deeply etch your goal into your memory.

Vividly is an important word as well. You want your goal to be so clearly fleshed out that you could show it to someone else and they would understand what you want to do and how you aim to get there. Think pictures, timeframes, sketches—something you can sink your mind into.

The mental exercise of expounding on your goals and processing through details as you reverse-engineer them creates an obvious pathway that your brain can latch itself onto and begin building networks around.​

With Pen and Paper

Studies have also shown that students learn material better when they use a pen and paper to take notes rather than a laptop.

The cognitive processes for writing by hand versus typing are different, and the handwriting processes engage your brain at a deeper level. The slowness of writing by hand is actually a positive thing, inviting your brain to really digest, comprehend, and retain what you're writing about.

This same principle applies to follow-through on your goals. This brain-to-hand processing connection will help optimize your results—giving your brain time to get ahold of the details you're outlining, see how everything interacts, and make it easier to remember the appointments you made with yourself to take specific steps forward on your objectives.

Somewhere You'll See It Consistently

The out-of-sight-out-of-mind adage fully applies to your goals.

Writing down your goals by hand is powerful—but keeping your goals somewhere you'll see them regularly will add the benefits of having a regular visual cue that will launch your goal back to the forefront of your mind.

The more you trigger the memory of your goal, and ruminate over what this goal means for your life, the more your goal for the future will feel relevant to the choices you make today.

Our favorite places to store our major goals to ensure we see them daily in the context of our real life schedules are:

  • the first pages of the Annual
  • the flex page opposite of the month calendar in the Annual
  • the flex page opposite of the week grid in the Classic
  • the flex space that shows in the right-hand dutchdoor window just above the habit tracker in the Classic

& Then Take It To the Next Level

We took all of this research and launched everything to the next level. If writing your goals down by hand and looking at them every day increased your chances follow-through, what would writing them down every day and remembering your "why" do?

I (Shelby) tested this out for several months and found that it daily cultivated in me a sharp awareness of whether or not my daily lifestyle decisions were aligning with my ultimate goals. Taking time to write down why each goal mattered to me made me consistently grapple with reality: either I needed to intentionally pivot these enormously purposeful goals, or I needed to adjust my lifestyle until it fueled them.

I've been writing my top three goals for the quarter in my planner every day, coming at them from new and different angles that connect with the other details of my life at that point.

This exercise has powerfully shaped my lifestyle in incredibly meaningful directions. It has been so significant that I found myself halting progress on our Classic going to press back at the beginning of 2020 so that we could reformat the Classic to include it in the daily pages for all of you. Now, in the Evergreen Planner, each daily page has a space for you to write down your top "seasonal goals" and "remember your why" for each one.

By completing this daily exercise, you're leveraging the magic of your God-given neuroplasticity. Handwriting your goals in the Evergreen Planner builds new neural pathways every single day, literally building up your brain—and cultivating a robust and dynamic working memory—around the things that matter most to you.