What is the Value of Written Goals?
We have all heard that goal setting is extremely important. In fact, there are numerous books and papers written about goal setting and how to do it. Many times the authors make goal setting seem mythical like a fairy-tale of sorts as in The Secret.
FACT OR FICTION
Let’s not forget the famed Harvard Business Study that is quoted quite often by sales coaches, managers and leaders that states 3% of Harvard MBAs make ten times as much as the other 97% combined, but is that fact or fiction? Google has indexed data on Harvard Business Review on Written Goals. You will find many articles that reference this study, but you will not find the Harvard Business Review on Written Goals itself; however, you will find articles like Sid Savara’s that prove that this review is fiction.
So, is there any data to prove that written goal setting does work? Yes, Gail Matthews Ph.D. from Dominican University conducted a study with 267 participants from multiple businesses and organizations with ages ranging from 23 to 72. Dr. Matthews’ Goal Research Summary concluded that people with written down goals were 33.5% more likely to achieve their goals versus people who had unwritten goals.
What was more interesting is that people that had written goals shared their goals and had someone to hold them accountability were 43.7% more likely to achieve their goals.
THREE IMPORTANT COMPONENTS FOR GOAL SETTING
1. Written Goals:
There is a strategy to make sure you know how to properly write down your goals. Many people use “SMART” goals to guide them.
Specific – Keep goals clear, concise and simple.
Measurable – Define action plans to measure.
Achievable – Keep goals incremental.
Realistic – Match goals to needs and ambitions.
Timetable – Add milestones and completion dates.
Check out our START A GOAL checklist.
2. Accountability Coach:
Think of this as getting medical advice from your family and friends, your family doctor or specialist.
Family and friends: They may give you the right advice or guidance on what you should take, but they do not know the dosage, prescription-strength or side effects their remedy could have on you.
Family Doctors: They may be able to give you the right dosage, prescription-strength and tell you the side effects of their remedy, but if your illness is not their primary specialty it can prolong the treatment or cause further complications.
Specialist: These people are trained to help you fix your specific problem. They have seen other patients like you who give them a leg up on what may work for you based on your medical and family history. They give you the greatest chance to overcome your illness. Which is why they get paid a lot because they are the best at what they do.
You need to make sure you have the right person to give you guidance, support, and pressure. Most of your friends and family will not be the right person to help you. The main reasons they are not the right people to help is you because they are not experts, and they don’t want to hold you accountable and cause stress in your relationship. You should use one of the following people to help you.
Managers – They should know how to help you based on their history of coaching others, sales requirement, and the company goals. An exception could be a brand new manager.
Mentor – Find someone who has done what you want to do and ask them to mentor you. Many times they will say yes because they want to help someone who wants to be like them.
Coach – The best way to hit your goals is to hire a coach. Now that you have skin in the game, you will tend to take your goals more seriously. They will not have any problem holding you accountable because this is what they are paid to do. They are going to do things most likely no one else is willing to do.
3. Progress Reports:
You have to check on your progress. Anything worth doing requires inspection. We are wired to evaluate our progress. It will either encourage us to keep going or what we need to improve. Think about it.
Students – Grades
Health– Medical Charts
Weight Loss – Scale
Bank Account – Bank Statements
Retirement Plans – Savings Balance
Salespeople – Commissions and Earnings Report
No matter how you slice it, we need to see progress.
THE BIGGEST LOSER:
There is a reason that contestants do well on the TV Show The Biggest Loser. It is because they start with a written goal and assessment of where they are today, they have a hired fitness coach who has helped numerous people and knew the best way to help that individual. The contestants receive a progress report in the form of a weigh-in. These components play a vital role in achieving their goal.
These same components can help you achieve your desired goals and dreams. The key is not to overlook the importance of any one component and its role in helping you.