I wonder how many of you reading this have already broken, or steered away from your New Year’s resolution. To me, we place so much emphasis into our “resolution” that we hinge on this one act as if it is going to completely alter the complex of our coming year. Unfortunately, soon after the moment of its inception, our resolution is often lost and thus is our motivating factor for the coming year.
I have always leaned more on the idea of setting and creating goals for the coming year rather than resolutions. When we go against a resolution, i.e. have a coke, eat a sweet, or have more drinks than we said we would, at that exact moment the resolution is broken, we often throw it by the waste side. Personally, I would rather set a goal and place a 12-month, year-long, time frame in which I can work towards achieving said goal. Here, we understand that there are moments where we may steer away from the goal, but it is not that exact moment in time that consumes us, it is the bigger picture, the underlying goal that is our driving force. The goal is not lost because we missed a day at the gym like we said we weren’t going to do, or because during the National Championship game we had too many finger foods. We may, at times, set a tougher path for ourselves in order to achieve our desired goal, but the focus is not lost.
A great study was conducted at Harvard in 1979 (http://www.lifemastering.com/en/harvard_school.html). The graduating Harvard MBA class of 1979 was surveyed 10 years after graduation and they were asked two simple questions: 1) Did/do they have goals, and 2) Did/do they write their goals down. The results were astounding.
- 13% of the graduates said they had goals, but did not write them down
- 3% of the graduates had written goals / plans
- 84% of the graduates said they had no goals at all
- The 13% of the class who said they had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84% who had no goals at all.
- The 3% who had clear written goals / plans were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97%... combined.
My point is not that the key to high earnings and ultimate monetary riches is simply writing down your goals, but rather, without a plan and goals we set to achieve, we lead ourselves down an often misdirected path.
What are your goals for 2011, and more importantly, how do you plan on achieving your goals?