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How to Set Goals - And ACTUALLY Achieve Them

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

By Chuck Cusumano and Jillian Broaddus


How many of you have made a New Year's resolution, only to abandon it when life, work, or smaller, nagging priorities got in the way? Unsurprisingly, you're not alone.

Perhaps surprisingly, though, are the severity of the statistics on people who fail at goal-setting – or, rather, goal execution.


A 2019 New Year’s study found that 23% of those who had set resolutions ended up giving up within the first week. By January 12th, the majority of resolutions were renounced. In fact, in general, only a mere 8% of people end up fulfilling their goals… EVER. This explains why 95% of people who lose weight end up re-gaining all of it, and why the concept of the “98% club” was born, referring to the estimate that 98% of people “die without accomplishing their main dream in life.”



Why is this, and how can you ensure that you become a part of the "2% club"?


“Only 8% of people end up fulfilling their goals... EVER.”

Start by WRITING IT DOWN


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry explained it best when he famously said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” A Harvard study shed light on this quote: Out of their entire population of MBA graduate students, they found that 84% had no objectives set, 13% had ambitions in their heads, and 3% had written down their goals. The results? One decade later, the 13% of the class with unwritten goals had earned twice as much as the 84% with no goals; furthermore, the 3% with written goals achieved an average of 10x as much as the remaining 97% of the class combined!


Secondly, MAKE IT SMART


What gets measured gets improved.”

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It’s simple – what gets measured gets improved. While ambiguous and malleable plans seem more appealing upfront, they’re proven to be much less likely to be accomplished. So, set strict steps, keep a scorecard, and check off those boxes!


ENVISION YOUR GOAL ACCOMPLISHED


There’s a reason why Michael Jordan claimed to always picture his shot before he ever took one, why Muhammad Ali stressed the importance of seeing his victory before any fight, and why Jim Carrey saw himself as a famous actor while he was struggling and homeless. So, is your goal to run a marathon? Picture yourself lacing up your sneakers, picture the race course, picture the finish line. Picture every detail, because – at the end of the day – if you can’t picture yourself achieving a goal, chances are that you won’t.


Finally, SHARE YOUR GOAL


Forbes reports that sharing your goal – as well as progress updates – with a boss, leadership coach, mentor, family member, or friend makes us up to 25% more likely to achieve it. Why? Simply put: accountability. Even better if you can make it a team effort!

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