We all know that the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions don’t last. In fact, 25% of people abandon their New Year’s goals after one week and the average person makes the same resolution a total of 10 times without success. Likewise, we regularly hear people complaining about wanting to lose weight without ever actually…losing it. Plus, of those who do lose weight on a diet, 95% regain it – with most actually gaining more than they lost. So, why do these resolutions consistently fail in the long run? Well, perhaps Antoine de Saint-Exupéry explained it best when he famously stated, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” You wouldn’t set out on a road trip to a specific destination with no road map – (well, iPhone GPS) – so how could you expect to reach your future goals without a plan of action to get there?
One interesting Harvard study shed light on the importance of not only having specific, achievable, set goals, but of putting those goals down in writing. MBA students were asked: “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Out of all of the graduate students, 84% had no objectives set, 13% had goals in their minds, and only 3% had actual written ambitions.
The astonishing results? Ten years later, the 13% of the class with unwritten goals had earned twice as much as the 84% with no goals; furthermore, the 3% with written goals achieved an average of ten times as much as the remaining 97% of the class altogether!
An additional study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, found that an individual is 42% more likely to achieve a goal solely by writing it down.
Why is this the case? Or, better yet, how? Writing our goals forces us to truly focus and clarify exactly what we want. It is easy to wander through life semi-aimlessly, with perhaps unrealistic or wishy-washy intentions steadily resting at the backs of our minds. However, seeing a written list can motivate us to take action and to remind us of priorities when life’s inevitable distractions attempt to lead us off course.
These are the steps we take in coaching leaders who complete our assessment process, and it’s applicable to anyone with any sort of aspiration.
- Determine a goal and make it SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
- Create a list of steps that will set you up for success to achieve said goal.
- Track your progress, reassess, and continue improving until you have reached your accomplishment!
Because, after all, a dream is nothing but a dream until it is written down.
Still not convinced? Check out the infographic below, created by NowSourcing, which compares the multimillionaires of the world to the poor populations: