Monday, March 7, 2011

Only 3%?

Only 3% of adults have clear, written, specific, measurable, time-bounded goals, and by every statistic, they accomplish ten times as much as people with no goals at all. -Brian Tracy

A friend recently sent me this quote and it made me really think.  I understand the power of goal setting, but it was hard to imagine that only 3% of adults have well defined written down goals.  

So what is a goal and how do you set one?  We may say that our goal is to exercise more or eat healthy or watch less television.  But that’s not really a goal until you really commit.  I like writing down the goal and having it somewhere I’ll see regularly.  Maybe put it in a couple places you frequent.  The fridge door seems obvious, but often our fridges are covered with things we are suppose to remember to do, so maybe put a note inside the fridge or on the coffee.  Post it at work and in your bathroom, anywhere you’ll see it regularly. 

Ok now you have your goal and that’s it, right?  Well, not really because you need to know why you’re setting the goal.  If you don’t have a good reason, you’re not likely to actually take action.  The more difficult the goal, the more powerful the reason for doing it will have to be.  For example, if you want to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, you might say to yourself that you’ll look and feel better, and for some people that will be all the leverage they need to get their butt to the gym.  For others being around to see their kids graduate is a much stronger motivator.  You must have a really good reason and add that to your written goal.  For example, “I will to lose weight and be healthy so that I can see little Johnny graduate from high school”.  

Next, you need to figure out the action steps.   What are the things you will do every day to achieve your goal?  These are the small simple things like no longer going to the drive-thru for food.  Getting up 30 minutes early and going for a walk.  Come up with actions for each day and write them down.  It may be one thing like walking every day or it may be a series of things like this week you’ll walk for ten minutes each day and bring a lunch to work twice, then the next week you may increase it to walking fifteen minutes and bringing lunch three times.  If your goal is to start a business the action steps will be things like writing a business plan, registering the business name, and getting business cards designed and getting the business cards printed.  Write a list of small easily achievable steps.

Your goal should involve something measurable.  You’ll achieve a certain activity or weight by a certain date and time.  You’ll exercise 3 times a week.  You’ll write 500 words a day.  For more abstract goals like being a better parent, you might want to elaborate and say you’ll be a better parent by giving your child 30 minutes of undivided attention everyday that is positive in nature.  This means you don’t count the time you spend nagging them to clean their room or brush their teeth.  

Finally, you need to celebrate your successes.  Each day, acknowledge your efforts, and at least once a week, celebrate whatever you have achieved, no matter how small.  If you have a day or week where you don’t achieve your desired results, just remember that it’s all part of the process and if you keep trying, you’ll eventually reach your goal.  You will occasionally be side tracked and if you acknowledge and accept this, you won’t “fall off the wagon” and just give up.  

This week I challenge each of you to write down your top three goals, the reason why you want each and the action steps that will help get you there.  
Let’s be part of the 3% that has well defined goals and achieve ten times more than the other 97%!


  1. Nice! I like this post...makes me feel like taking action.

  2. I'd love to hear the goals people wrote down,what actions people have taken and how it went.