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  • Matthew Trethewey

Appreciate the Power of Goal-Setting

Updated: Jun 25

"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 write down what actions you need to accomplish them?

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

How many of you write your goals and 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, 3% were earning an astounding ten times more than the group with no clear goals. The trouble is, this "study" turns out to be an urban myth - no such study existed.


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 various professions. Participants were assigned to one of 5 groups randomly.


Group 1 thought 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 wrote down their goals.


Group 3 formulated a list of action commitments.


Group 4 formulated a list of action commitments and then sent their goals and action commitments to a supportive friend.


Group 5 did all of the above and provided a weekly progress report to a friend.


Af 4 weeks, the participants rated their progress. Group 1 completed 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 check 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: setting goals for our finances, 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. When people 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 in your business, career, and 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 life than those who don't set goals. It will be well worth the effort.


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