By Christopher Bergland
What is the secret to achieving a big goal? Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) and Harvard University have found that even offering meaningless small rewards increases human motivation. Even if the rewards are arbitrary, the simple act of ‘winning’ a token reward inspires people to keep working towards a larger goal. Read more
By Kris Duggan
When we break down the science of setting goals, a few things are clear: Goals should be measurable, relevant to how you want to progress in the short and long term, attainable, and bound to a period of time. And setting new goals for personal development periodically will help you grow in your career, whether you’re in an intern, a C-level executive or anyone in between.
People who ordinarily perform at 50 percent end up with an 80 percent success rate when they introduce goals to their work ethic, according to MIT professor and researcher Don Sull. And if you go just a little beyond setting goals—either by getting feedback or making those goals public—it’s even more likely you’ll achieve them. Fitbit found that its users take 43 percent more steps on average than those who aren’t counting their steps with a Fitbit. We can grow our own success, even with something as simple as taking more steps each day, if we simply set a goal and make our progress public. Read more
Did you know that less than 3% of the world’s population regularly sets personal goals?
Earl Nightingale, of the true pioneers of the human potential movement, would refer to most people as “ships without rudders, subject to every shift of wind and tide” because they never set personal goals for themselves. Although just about every one you meet would LIKE to drift into a rich and successful port, the chances of actually finding their way there are about a thousand to one.
The three percent, though, who take the time to chart their course and set personal goals manage to accomplish more for themselves in just a few years than most people accomplish in a lifetime.
Here are 4 primary keys to setting and achieving goals:
1. It’s important to first focus on setting very specific personal goals. Unless you can say in one sentence exactly what it is you desire, you probably haven’t clearly defined your goal. Saying you want “happiness” or “better relationships” or “more money” is not a goal - that’s a general condition just about everyone out there wants. You want to get very specific on exactly what the achievement of this personal goal looks like.
2. If you set too many goals, you won’t arrive anywhere. Remember, a ship can only sail to one port at a time. It’s all well and good to keep a running list of your personal goals and desires, but it’s important that you choose ONE that you want more than all the others. It might, in fact, be the foundational piece to achieving other personal goals on your list.
3. Then, it’s not just about personal goal setting - it’s about consciously and actively working toward the goal achievement. Sometimes, people have very loft visions of what they’d like to have or do or accomplish in their lives, but they have no idea how to achieve those dreams. Sadly, most will stop before they even begin to try.
It’s important to recognize this one thing: Any goal ever realized in the history of mankind did NOT come with a blueprint! Every goal ever accomplished began with just one step. And one step after that. And another step after that. You don’t have to know all the steps - just take the steps you know to be most apparent, and the path will continue to unfold before you.
4. Lastly, you’ll have more success achieving your personal goal when you introduce accountability and daily tools into your goal-achieving course. Earl Nightingale is well known for keeping a daily list of just 6 priorities in his pocket, each priority related to his primary personal goal. He would start at #1, and would not move forward until #1 was completed. Each evening, he wrote a new list, sometimes moving items from that day’s list to the next day’s list. The point, however, is that he stayed on course and true to his goal every single day.
There are many goal achieving tools on today’s market to help you stay on course and plot your action steps as you go. One such tool, The Success Diary - is actually built on the Nightingale premise, and offers both a yearly dated journal and an undated journal with “five goal oriented actions” to write in for your daily activities. Additionally, the hardbound journal offers affirmations, encouraging tips and advice, and “month in review” pages to assess your progress.
Whatever you personal goal may be, a daily “tracker” of this nature will keep you more focused and committed to the end result. You’ll find, too, that as you continue to take steps toward the goal that events and circumstances will begin to support you in your effort - you might find that goal becoming reality much faster than you first thought!
Keep Your Goals On Track
GoalsOnTrack’s automatic progress tracking and goal journal can be powerful tools to make your goal setting process effective. It keeps your goals organized and you’ll always have feedback showing progress in relation to the goal whenever you complete a task for it.
Give it a try today. Find out more >>