it’s been shown that people who actually write down their goals — the more specific the better — have a significantly higher likelihood of attaining their goals.
People who don’t write down their goals often come up short.
And people with no stated goals… they often drift.
Check this out — it’s from the book What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack:
“McCormack tells of a study conducted on students in the 1979 Harvard MBA program. In that year, the students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and a whopping 84 percent had no specific goals at all.
Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. And what about the three percent who had clear, written goals? They were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.”
(Note: the source of the above is from this site.)
Obviously, the new year is a time when people talk and talk and talk of goals. So lesson number one on this Monday, January 4, 2010 for my students is Goal Setting.
I always set them for myself as a writer. (And I write them down — though I do this at the start of every school year cause my life operates in harmony with academic calendars more so than with traditional calendars — as per last week’s blog post.)
I always set goals for myself as a teacher.
I always introduce the techniques of Goal Setting to my kids. I truly believe there is almost a science like quality to this aspect of life.
1) dream it up (being practical yet far-reaching)
2) reflect deeply on what you want (not whims or wishes — but personally meaningful stuff)
3) write it down (be specific, the more specific the better. Not “I will lose weight” but rather “I will lose 10 pounds by May 15.)
4) refer back to your written goals now and then in order to self-assess, remind yourself of the forrest for the trees and make adjustments in case you have either gotten off-track or already surpassed a written goal and need to enhance and enlarge your objectives.
I will be speaking more to the idea of “goals” in the next few weeks. Goals for my students, goals for my classes, goals for my own writing and for my school at large.
And by declaring them so publicly, there’s a fear, I must admit. I mean, what if I don’t attain them? Well, maybe that’s the power of having written them down in the first place, it’s reflective of real commitment.
Goals — writing ’em down is the key to attaining them. I do… and I will.