The difference between those who achieve great success in pursuit of their goals and those who wander aimlessly or stay stuck can be found in not only their goal-setting methods but also in their goal-getting habits.
A study carried out by Professor Gail Matthews of Dominican University of California showed the importance of goal-setting and the effect it has on the mindsets and accomplishments of those who set goals compared with those who do not. Participants of the study, a mix of male and female, were recruited from across different industries, different countries and their ages ranged between 23 and 72. They were split into five different groups as follows:
- Group 1 – Asked not to write down any goals. Just think about what they wanted to accomplish in 4 weeks and rate their desired goals on Difficulty, Importance, Skills & Resources available, Commitment and Motivation, Prior Experience pursuing the goal and Prior Success, if any.
- Group 2 – Asked to write down goals in an online survey and rate them in a similar manner as Group 1.
- Group 3 – In addition to writing their goals down, this group was also asked to formulate a plan of action they were committed to.
- Group 4 – Wrote down goals, formulated plans of action and sent both goals and plans of action to a supportive friend. This action was referred to as “public commitment.”
- Group 5 – Wrote down goals, formulated plans of action, sent both goals and plans of action to a supportive friend and followed that up with weekly progress reports (accountability) prompted by email reminders.
The results of the study showed that Group 5 (those accountable to someone supportive) achieved significantly more than all the other groups, Group 4 (those who made a public commitment) achieved significantly more than Groups 3 and 1. Group 2 (those who wrote their goals down) achieved significantly more than Group 1 (those who relied only on their memory and wrote nothing down) proving that…
- Writing clear goals
- Sharing your commitment to your success with trusted people (not everyone)
- Committing to accountability
…all make a big difference to personal achievement.
What has your experience been with setting goals and achieving them?
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