Science has established a clear link between goal setting and achievement. For example, Yale University graduates were surveyed in the 1950s and then again 20 years later. The outcomes of the research showed that 3% of those graduates had generated more wealth than the other 97%; this same 3% enjoyed better health and experienced more successful relationships.
None of the usual factors accounted for this difference: background, parental wealth, degree studied, gender, or career selected. The only difference that could be found was that all of the 3% had set goals for themselves in the 1950s, whilst the majority of the 97% had not. You will find that having clearly defined goals offers your life a sense of purpose and direction.
Additionally, something happens when we actually put pen to paper to write out our goals. We turn our thoughts into something tangible. We can actually see our goal, feel it, smell it, taste it, touch it! The goal is no longer just a thought; it has now become something that motivates us and creates a gut feeling inside.
Even the act of using the eye in coordination with the hand holding the pen makes a much stronger impression on our mind as we write out our goal. When we read and re-read that phrase or sentence, the impression on the mind becomes even deeper.
In other articles we worked through some exercises that should have helped you have a clearer idea of the general direction you wish to move in your life. If you’re like me, you’re probably now itching to set some goals and get started. However, before we do that, we want to make sure that our goals will actually be achievable, that we will attain victory. After all, we don’t want to fall flat on our faces, do we?
“That’s easy!” you may say. “Just set small easily achieved goals.” And you would be right; that’s one way to go about it. However, think back to a time when you really, really wanted something badly. For me, it was my first car. My single-parent mother didn’t have the money to go out and buy me one, so if I wanted it, it was up to me to figure out a way to get it. So I found myself a job in the local cinema, serving popcorn, and I worked hard on top of going to school and I scrimped and saved for over a year until I had enough money to buy my first car. I guarantee you it was the ugliest thing on four wheels, mustard yellow, but the immense excitement and pride I felt when I handed over the cash I’d saved and I took possession of the keys was enormous.
Was it an easy goal? No. I was not allowed to let my grade point average slip at school, so I’d had to stay up until the wee hours many nights after work to study for an exam or do homework for the next day. I had to forego social outings with my friends in order to be at work and I always smelled like popcorn grease no matter how often I showered. On Friday and Saturday nights the popular kids would bring their dates to the cinema and I would die of embarrassment, wishing the trap door in the floor would swallow me up, as I stood there in my geeky grease stained uniform asking them if they wanted some popcorn to go with their Coke.
Was it worth it? Absolutely! I had to stretch myself and change the way I thought in order to reach that goal. I had to make some sacrifices. But the enormous feeling of freedom that car gave me, being able to drive myself wherever I wanted to go… once I had it, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything!
It is likely that you yourself have had a similar experience – one where you had to reach in order to achieve something. How did you feel when you attained your goal? Was it worth the stretch?
© 2010, Shelley Dudley, Author, Speaker, Coach
Shelley Dudley has 25 years’ experience in sales & marketing, customer service, and training. After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, she has written articles for a diversity of publications from Ladies Home Journal to Precious Metal Magazine. She has written a best-selling book, “You Can Do It! A Step by Step Guide to Achieving your Dreams” and is available for speaking engagements. More information can be found at her website: http://shelleydudley.biz