Goal Setting Gets Results!

by | Aug 30, 2020 | The Success Principles | 0 comments

Life purpose “check” ✅, vision of what you want to BE, DO and HAVE “check” ✅. Next, make your goals are SMART and take action to achieve them. Did you know your brain is goal-seeking? Your subconscious mind is working around the clock to help you achieve the goals you set. How cool is that⁉


One of my favorite books The Success Principles by Jack Canfield talks about an amazing study. Dr. Gail Mathews of Dominican University and Dr. Stephen Kraus of Harvard University conducted a study to determine influences on goal achievement. The study included 267 participants aged 23 to 72 from the countries of Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States. Participants were selected from various professions including legal, banking, education, marketing, health care, entrepreneurs and non-profit. They were assigned randomly to groups one through five.

Group 1 – THINK about goals to achieve during the month
Groups 2, 3, 4, 5 – Think about goals and write them down
Group 3 – Make list of action items to achieve goals
Group 4 – Make list of action items to achieve goals and share with supportive friend
Group 5 – Think about goals, write them down, list action items to achieve goals, share with supportive friend and check in with this friend weekly on their progress

After four weeks, study participants rated the achievement of their goals:
Group 1 participants asked to THINK about their goals for the month accomplished 43% of their goals.
Groups 2 and 3 participants asked to think about and write down their goals accomplished 56% of their goals.
Group 4 participants asked to think about and write down goals, list action items and share with supportive friend accomplished 64% of their goals.
Group 5 participants asked to think about and write down goals, list action items, share with supportive friend and check in weekly accomplished 76% of their goals.

Group 5 had a 33% increase in goal accomplishment over Group 1. WOW! 

The results of the study show that for optimal goal achievement you should record your goals, share them with someone and provide a regular progress report.

Goal Setting and Regular Review = Earning Power

Professor emeritus David Kohl of Virginia Tech conducted a study that reported 80% of Americans don’t have goals. Of the 16% who have goals, they don’t record them. Fewer than 4% record their goals, and fewer than 1% regularly review them. The people who record and regularly review their goals earn 9 times more throughout their lives than the people who fail to set goals.

Is your goal SMART?

If you Google “what is a SMART goal?” you’ll get several variations. The one I use is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound BUT as long as you’re answering the two important questions: HOW MUCH and BY WHEN, that’s a great place to start! A third party should be able to determine whether or not you achieved your goal by your specified date and time. Specific goals include size, color, make, model, amount and anything else you can identify. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “vague goals produce vague results.”

It’s in the details…

Think back to your BE, DO and HAVE lists 📝- to turn a list item into a SMART goal, write the specific details and then add a date and time you expect to achieve the goal. It’s fun to pretend you’re writing a work order to the Universe, Source or God. Include short-term, long-term, and lifetime goals and include a few stretch goals – ones that are outside your comfort zone and require growth for you to achieve. Ideally, you’re setting goals in all seven areas of your life: work/career, finances, recreation/free time, health and fitness, relationships, personal development and contribution/legacy. Becoming a master at life is the ultimate goal, and one that requires your continuous growth and learning and your overcoming fears, considerations, roadblocks and limiting beliefs.


What would you consider a breakthrough goal? A breakthrough goal represents a quantum leap. A football analogy looks like this: you advance the ball 4 yards down the field – this play is considered “good” but not “great”. What if you throw a 50-yard pass 🏈 on the first play of the game – this is considered a “quantum leap” because of how quickly it gets you closer to scoring a goal. Think of a breakthrough goal in your life that could be similar to the 50-yard pass on the football field – one that would have a life-changing impact when you achieve it. What if you wrote a book 📖, landed a huge client at your new business, lost 50lbs, got a promotion at work, completed a certification or degree 🎓❓ Pursue your breakthrough goal with a passion!

Structural Tension

What the heck is structural tension? According to psychologists, this is what happens in your brain when you have a goal that hasn’t yet been achieved. Your brain works to “close the gap” between reality and your envisioned goal. You increase the structural tension in your brain by regularly reviewing your goals and visualizing them as achieved. Try to review your goals each morning when you wake up and before you go to bed – at minimum twice daily. More often is better! Write your goals anywhere and everywhere – screen saver, phone, planner, index cards. Whatever works to keep your goals top of mind. Remember to ✅ check off every goal you achieve, notate the date (and time, if you want) and write VICTORY beside it! Even better, keep a victory log of all your accomplished goals.

Three Pesky Obstacles…

Once you set a goal, you may be faced with three pesky obstacles – but don’t let them stop you from achieving your goal. Pesky obstacle #1 = CONSIDERATIONS. A couple of examples include “If I start a side business, I’ll have to work nights and weekends” or “To train for the marathon, I’ll have to get up earlier and run seven days a week for months.” Considerations are thoughts that pop up – reasons why you shouldn’t work towards achieving the goal or why it may be impossible to achieve the goal. This pesky obstacle has been hanging out in your subconscious mind. However, bringing considerations into your conscious awareness enables you to confront them and decide to overcome them. Pesky obstacle #2 = FEARS. We all feel fear – fear of failure (or success!), fear of rejection, fear of loss or injury. Know that fears are part of the process and move through them. Don’t let them stop you from achieving your goal. Pesky obstacle #3 = ROADBLOCKS. Roadblock are external circumstances – they aren’t the thoughts you think or your feelings. A roadblock could be a lack of money or investors in a project, regulations or laws prohibiting you from moving forward, rain on your wedding day. You have to deal with roadblocks to move forward to achieve your goal. These obstacles are NOT a stop sign. You should accept them and deal with them as part of the process of life. When you’re successful in overcoming these obstacles – considerations, fears and roadblocks – you’ll have achieved personal development. Who you’ve become in the process of goal achievement – mastery – can’t be taken away from you (unlike material possessions you’ve accumulated).

As someone committed to living my best life and continuous improvement, I’ve been setting and achieving goals for most of my life. Even before I learned about accountability partners, a friend of mine and I would meet for lunch in early January each year to map out our goals. We’d check in regularly and meet for a recap at the end of the year. One year I was so excited that I achieved all but one of my goals on the list I’d made for that year. It was by far my most successful year in terms of goal achievement. Today, I set goals in seven areas of my life. I record them in a goal binder with tabs for each category. I even put each goal on an index card and write an affirmation on the back. I try to review these cards with my goals and affirmations at least twice each day. This is an area where I want to improve, for sure!

Do you regularly set goals? Are your goals SMART? If you do set goals, do you record them and assign action items? Do you have an accountability partner to review your goals regularly (daily or weekly)? I hope you’re inspired after reading the statistics showing that you’ll greatly improve your goal achievement chances by doing these simple steps.

Please share in the comments a goal you’re working on for the month.

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