by Sunny Simon

I peaked in my husband’s office and observed him humming a snappy tune as he assembled his new desk chair. Upon giving the scene a second glance I noticed, contrary to the male stereotype, he was actually reading the directions! I was reminded me of a study I read recently. Research carried out at the University of Tromso in Norway found men were faster at assembling flat pack furniture than women. IKEA did their own study and reported men assembled furniture faster than women even when they didn’t read the manual.

Well, study or no study I opt for a roadmap. Rarely do I follow a whim and take an unchartered course. Why? Because most of the time “winging it,” never gets you to the goal line. If you want to be successful you need a plan.

The thing about a plan, it must be in writing. Psychology professor, Dr. Gail Matthews, who studied the subject for over 30 years found committing your goals to paper can increase your possibility of success by 40%.


You can create your own goal map online or in a notebook. Another alternative, buy one off the shelf. As a career coach, I often review products designed to keep us on track. My latest acquisition was a the “Full Focus Planner,” created to keep annual goals visible by integrating a productivity methodology into monthly, weekly and daily commitments.

I prefer a written system because I still think of paper as a technology. Want another paper-oriented method ?Do some research on mind mapping. This technique was created as a graphic tool to unlock brain potential. All you need to produce a goal mind map is blank paper, color pencils and a quiet corner where you can tap into your imagination and chart your course.

If you prefer doing the work online, many platforms are available. A quick Google search will keep you busy for hours determining which resource would work best for you. Some templates are even free.

It doesn’t matter if you purchase a system or create your own. Use whatever methodology suits your style. The bottom line is written goals provide clarity, focus and direction. Think of your goals as destination coordinates to plug into your GPS system.

Foregoing an instructional road map might get the furniture built but it is doubtful you will complete your goals without direction. As Yogi Berra so aptly put it, “If you don’t know where you are going, you may end up somewhere else.” Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog