If you’re like most people, you probably feel overwhelmed with the thought of spending time writing down a comprehensive goal plan. Perhaps you’re used to writing down a one-sentence goal or worse, not writing them down at all. Or maybe you simply have a vague idea in the back of your mind of what you want to do in the next year, which you might think about on New Year’s Eve but forget by mid-January.
If you’re guilty of this kind of goal setting (or lack thereof), you’re certainly not alone. Yet not writing down goals is the number one reason so many fail at achieving them. And if you do write down your goals, do you have a clear strategy for tracking, measuring and following up on your progress?
The fact is, if you don’t have the patience to get clear on your goals and what it’s going to take to achieve them, it’s highly unlikely you’ll have the patience to overcome all the obstacles you’ll inevitably encounter on your way to a hugely successful year.
A study involving Harvard MBAs revealed that 3% of graduates actually make ten times as much as the other 97% combined. Can you guess why?
The answer is that the 3% had a habit of setting clear, written goals for their future with specific plans for accomplishing them.
In the study, the interviewers polled all new graduates from the Harvard’s MBA Program and found that:
• 84% had no specific goals at all
• 13% had goals, but they were not committed to paper
• 3% had clear, written goals with plans to accomplish them
Ten years later, the interviewers polled those same class of graduates. You can probably guess the results:
13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84% who had no goals at all.
Even more amazing – the 3% who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% put together!
Now, this particular study relates specifically to the earning capacity of these MBA students, but that goal could easily be substituted for anything. The point is that those who have clear, written goals with a plan for how to accomplish them move into the top 3% of the population with almost a 100% chance of achieving what they set out to achieve and in some cases, much, much more.
The clarity that this simple process of writing down your goals brings is worth every minute that you spend on it. When you look back at the end of the year and see that you’ve achieved many of the goals you wrote down, you’ll realise how important and powerful this process really is.
Of course, there’s a big difference between goal-setting and goal achievement. While both are important, simply setting goals is only the first step. If you write down your goals but never do anything more, it’s a waste of time. The second and just as important part of the process, once you know what you want, is to create a plan for how you will achieve your goal and take the appropriate steps to set that plan into action.
It's simple geography. If you’re here and want to get there, what do you need, in the way of resources and a plan, to navigate your way to ensure you arrive as expected and on time? Knowing where you want to go and creating a plan for how to get there is how smart people navigate themselves through life.
So consider this, if you don’t have time to write down your goals, when will you ever find time to accomplish them?
The Dailygreatness Journals are designed to make goal setting simple and fun while giving you opportunities every day, week and quarter to follow up and stay on track with the actions and steps you will need to take to make your vision a reality.
Lyndelle Palmer Clarke is the founder of Dailygreatness, the author of the Dailygreatness Journals inspiring you to be your own guru and Rocking Fit a 12-week holistic training program designed especially for women.