Somewhere along the way I had the statistic running around in my head that people who set goals and write them down are 80% more likely to accomplish them. Truthfully, I had no idea where that number came from or how accurate it truly was. As this statistic bounced around in my head I decided to do some research related to goal setting. The information I found informed greater clarity for myself, as well as in my work with my clients, about how truly important goal setting and accountability becomes in achieving optional health and wellness.
The University of Scranton published a study that found 92% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by January 15th. Each year many people make a commitment for the New Year and literally within less than a month those goals are forgotten, given up or changed. Sound familiar? I know I’ve been there before. Best of intentions fallen short. What is the single most influential factor in this rate of failed goals? We don’t write the goals down! We don’t have an action plan to reach those goals and we don’t have a system for accountability. Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone. However, in a Harvard Business Study researchers found 83% of individuals don’t have defined goals. 14% of individuals who have goals don’t publish them for themselves or share those goals with their support system. Here’s the good news, when we take the time to establish goals, publish them and define the actions steps to achieve them we are TEN times more likely to achieve our desired outcomes. The key learning here is having written goals creates accountability and a feedback process that allows us to track our progress and stay on track.
So, what it is you’ve been wanting for yourself? What goals are running around in your mind that would be actualized with some extra support? These may be health and wellness goals, professional or personal. Here’s a strategy to help you define and accomplish goals.
Here’s what you need—three different colored post-it notes, a marker and a blank wall (or poster board if you prefer).
On post-it note color A—list all the areas of your life you would like to bring attention to. You may decide to focus on only one area such a professional goals or fitness. You may select as many areas of your life you are comfortable and confident you can work on. Remember it takes 28 days to make and/or break a habit. This may inform your decision to focus on one area at a time. If you are like me, I needed a larger vision of all areas of my life I wanted to bring positive change to. Name each area on your post-it note (i.e. health, career) and place it on your wall or poster board.
On post-it note color B—write your vision of what you want to optimally achieve in this area. What would your goal be? Some things to consider. What would your life look like if you achieved this goal? How would you feel emotionally or in your body? What do you imagine is possible if you finally ran that marathon or made VP at your company? Place this directly under the area of your life you identified in step one.
On post-it note color C—write one action step per note and place under your defined goals. You may find some action steps require more time to achieve than others, while some are steps you can take with little effort. All steps are an important part of achieving success.
You don’t have to define a time line for each step unless you want to. However, as you move through your days, weeks, months or even the year bring your attention to these steps often. What can you do today? Achieve this week? This month? Mark off completed action steps as you make your way to success. This process creates a consistent feedback process for you and higher accountability in making consistent steps towards living your optional life.
We are best able to achieve changes in our lives when we have and feel supported. You might consider selecting an accountability partner who can help you define your goals and action steps, as well as serve as someone you can regularly check in with about your progress. This person can be a friend or family member, or it may be a professional health coach or mentor. You might also consider publishing your goals. Can you make use of your social media as an avenue towards success? Feel free to leave your vision or goal in the comments section of this blog! I wish you much success in getting motivated and clear about your goals!