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New Year’s resolutions are created by 60% of Americans and we’ve already learned that less than 10% achieve those resolutions. In everyday goal-setting, 80% of Americans say they do not have a goal, and 16% say they have goals but do not write them down. So that means only 3-5% of Americans write down their goals and only 1% review and check them frequently (“The Harvard MBA business school study on goal-setting”, n.d). David Kohl, professor at Virginia Tech, claimed that people who write down their goals will earn nine times as much income over their lifetime than people who do not write down their goals ( Therefore, writing down your goals is key to defeating the pitfall of lack of action. Take action and get your goals out of your mind and onto a paper or computer!

The human brain has around 60,000 thoughts per day, or roughly 50 thoughts per minute ( Having a goal in your mind is helpful, but with all those thoughts flying around how can you stay focused on your goals? Keeping a goal in your mind and not putting it on paper makes it easier to let go of the goal. When life gets difficult, it’s easier to just throw out the old thought and replace it with a new one. Your mind jumps from one thought to another – never stopping for long periods of time. Taking action to get your goals out of your thoughts and onto a paper is a mandatory step to complete your goals. Can you reach your goals without writing them down? Yes, it’s possible. But the odds of you reaching your goal increase significantly when you do write them down!

Let’s take a look at some research on goal-setting to back up this theory with empirical data. Dr. Gail Matthews from Ohio Dominican University conducted a prominent study on goal-setting and how it impacts goal-achievement (Anderson, 2013). There were five different groups in her study who made goals using different techniques and were studied to see if they achieved their goals over a four-week period. The first group set goals in their mind. Each group after that did the same, but then added another technique to the process. For example, the second group set a goal in their mind, wrote them down, and rated them. The third group set goals in their mind, wrote them down, rated them, and also made action commitments for their goals. Below are the group details:

Group 1 – Think about the goals they hoped to achieve in a month.

Group 2 – Write down their goals and rate them.

Group 3 – Write down their goals, rate them, and make action commitments for each goal.

Group 4 – Write down their goals, rate them, make action commitments for each goal, and share the goals with a friend.

Group 5 – Write down their goals, rate them, make action commitments for each goal., and send a weekly report to a friend.