3 simple steps to reach your goals.

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Ever heard about the 1953 study on goals where only 3% of Yale students had specific written goals for their future?  20 years later that group was earning 10 times more than their other classmates.  I must have heard about this study a dozen times – its made the motivational speaker circuit for years… even just yesterday I was listening to Darren Hardy say that by writing down my goals I’m joining the top 3%.  The only problem – this study never happened!

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. – Tony Robbins

Don’t despair though, a researcher named Dr. Gail Matthews from the Dominican University in California set out to find out whether writing down our goals actually matters.  Matthews recruited 267 participants from a variety of countries, occupations and ages.  They were randomly assigned to one of 5 groups.

  • Group 1 was asked to think about their goals.
  • Group 2 was asked to write their goals down.
  • Group 3 was asked to write their goals down and formulate action commitments.
  • Group 4 was asked to do all of these things plus send the action commitments to a supportive friend.
  • Group 5 was asked to write their goals down, formulate action commitments and send a weekly progress report to a supportive friend.

 

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The participants were asked to rate their progress and how effectively they had achieved their goals.  While group 1 only achieved 43% of their goals, group 5 achieved 76%.  It is worth noting that while writing down goals gave the participants an initial bump from 43% to 64%, there wasn’t much difference added by writing down action steps or even sending the goals to a friend.  The next big jump came with adding a weekly accountability task.

Accountability breeds response-ability. – Stephen Covey

If you want to achieve your goals you should:

  1. Write them down
  2. Formulate action commitments
  3. Send a weekly progress report to a supportive friend, coach or mentor.

Simply by taking these steps you’ve dramatically improved the chances you will reach your goals.3938181491_4c93e8ac56_o

If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us. – Jim Rohn

 

 

Never Give Up

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Last weekend, I had the pleasure of listening to Diana Nyad speak at the 2014 TeamBeachBody Coach Summit.  This amazing lady shared the story of her lifelong goal of swimming from Cuba to Florida, which she achieved at age 64.  I vaguely remembered seeing this on the news last year, but I failed to realize just how impossible this swim is.

103 miles in the open ocean, through waters teeming with sharks and jellyfish.  In the 30 years since she failed the first time (still setting a world record by swimming to the Bahamas instead) nobody had broken her record.  To be honest, part of me thought that wanting to do this in the first place must be a special kind of insanity.  Then she said this:

It’s not about what you get, it’s about who you become

This really struck me.  What if I could apply the mindset of arguably the world’s toughest athlete to my own life and endeavors?

Its easy for me to stay in my comfort zone and to complete my daily work without ever really stretching myself.  I’ve always wanted to write a book.  Its a scary proposition, though… what if nobody wanted to read it?  What if I put all that work into it and then it didn’t go anywhere?  Its always seemed like an impossible goal.

Diana told us that achieving her goal wasn’t what made the difference… striving for the goal defined her, fulfilled her and allowed her to build a tremendous resilience.  She failed and failed and failed until she finally succeeded.  The most important thing she did was to try.

I think I’ll take that little quote, put it in my journal and try to be a person that fails at massive goals.  After all, that’s exactly who Diana was when she started her fifth and final try at that impossible swim.

Do you have an impossible goal?