“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” -Napoleon Hill

How many of you have goals that you want to accomplish?

How many of you write your goals down?

How many of you write your goals down, and also write down what actions you need to take to accomplish them?

How many of you write your goals and your actions down, and also share this information with a supportive friend?

How many of you write your goals and your actions down, share this information, and send weekly reports of your progress to a supportive friend?

Experts on the science of success know the brain is a goal-seeking organism. Whatever goal you give to your subconscious mind, it will work nonstop to achieve.

The personal development industry has long cited a study on goal-setting done at Yale University in which only 3% of the graduating class had written specific goals for their future. Twenty years later, that 3% were found to be earning an astounding ten times more than the group that had no clear goals. The trouble is, this “study” turns out to be an urban myth – no such study had ever been done.

Because of this, a professor at The Dominican University of California decided to conduct a new study to focus on how goal achievement is influenced by writing down one’s goals, committing to goal-directed service, and being held accountable for those actions.

A total of 267 participants ranging from 23 to 72 were recruited from all around the world and included a variety of professions. The participants were randomly assigned to one of 5 groups.

Group 1 was asked merely to think deeply about their goals – what they wanted to accomplish over the next four weeks – but not to write them down.

Groups 2, 3, 4 and 5 were asked to write down their goals.

Group 3 was also asked to formulate a list of action commitments.

Group 4 was asked to formulate a list of action commitments and then send their list of goals and action commitments to a supportive friend.

Group 5 was asked to do all of the above, and provide a weekly progress report to a friend.

At the end of 4 weeks, the participants were asked to rate their progress and the degree to which they had accomplished their goals. The participants in Group 1 accomplished only 43% of their goals, while participants in Group 5 achieved 76% of their goals. That’s a 33% increase over Group 1.

This study provides empirical evidence for the importance and effectiveness of three essential success principles: (1) writing down your goals; (2) making a public declaration of your goals; and (3) being accountable to another person – such as a coach, an accountability partner, or a mastermind group – for the achievement of your goals.

Also, consider this: According to a study conducted by David Kohl, 80% of Americans report that they don’t have goals. Some 16% say they do have goals, but they don’t write them down. Less than 4% take the time to write down their goals, and less than 1% review them regularly. This small percentage of Americans, who write down their goals and review them periodically, earn nine times more throughout their lifetimes, than those who don’t set goals. This study alone should motivate you to write down your goals.

The message that I want to leave you with today is to appreciate the power of goal-setting. These days, it seems that everyone knows what goals are and why we should all have them. We hear and read about them all the time. We are also influenced and encouraged to set goals by the multitude of apps available to us: to set goals for our finances, our health and fitness and anything else we wish.

The problem is that most people go about it the wrong way. As the studies show, most people do not write down their goals. And even when people do write down their goals, they do so incorrectly: they do not make their goals specific and measurable by stating how much and by when? I see this often in the work that I do: professional coaching and training.

So, if you want to achieve more success for your business, your career and your personal life, I strongly encourage you to write both your goals and your actions down, share this information and send weekly reports of your progress to a supportive friend. If you were to do that, you would more likely be earning nine times more throughout your lifetime, than those who don’t set goals. It will be well worth the effort.

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