Goal-setting is as easy as 1-2-3. From the minute most of us wake up until the end of our individual days, we have good intentions to get things that are most important to us done. Some find greater success than others because their intentions are focused on the results they want to produce and so their actions are decisive and carried out with a sense of urgency. Others are a little more laid back and so are the results they produce. It’s very easy to know what’s important to someone simply by observing the results they produce at the end of each day. For each of us, our results could be saying one of two things, “Great!” or “Re-evaluate!”
What is Your Goal-Setting Style?
Because of our individual work styles and personalities, we all have preferred goal-setting methods. Some of us prefer to document goals on paper in writing or on picture boards, also known as vision boards. Others merely verbalise them, whilst most simply think about them and pursue them as and when they are recalled to memory. The difference between those who achieve great success in pursuit of their goals and those who wander aimlessly or stay stuck can be found mostly in their goal-setting methods and goal-getting habits.
What Research Revealed About Goal-Setting and Accountability
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 mind-sets and accomplishments of those who undertake the practice 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 then 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…
- Clearly written goals
- Sharing commitment to success with trusted people
- Committing to accountability
…all make a big difference to personal achievement.
Goals and Your Emotions
We all have limitless potential. So why is it that so many with great ideas, goals and plans consistently manifest little or no success day-after-day, month-after-month or year-after-year?
We thrive most when engaged in compelling activities that connect with our emotions and spark our creativity. Without powerful emotions to propel us towards decisive action, it’s easy to find our goals and dreams relegated to the pile of things we never get round to starting or completing. Often, it’s not necessarily the goals we set that we end up achieving, it’s the goals we are most passionate about that we dedicate our greatest efforts to.