In our roles we meet a lot of clients, advisers, consultants and a range of professional presenters and speakers.

Through these meetings and observations we are continually looking for common factors behind successful businesses and successful people. We would define success as achieving what you set out to achieve, regardless of whether this is a business or “non-business” objective.

Some of these factors of success include work ethic, accountability, preparedness to listen and take advice and goal setting.

A Harvard Business study has revealed some amazing statistics relating to goal setting and success:

  • 83% of the population do not have written goals;
  • 14% have a plan in mind, but these plans remain unwritten;
  • 3% have goals which are written down.

The same study found that of the 14% that do have goals they are 10 times more likely to be successful than the 83% who do not have goals. The 3% which have written goals are 3 times more successful than the 14% with unwritten goals.

Regardless of the percentages above or the accuracy of the study, the overwhelming message is if you have a documented goal you are more likely to achieve that goal than if you haven’t written it down.

So WHY is this? My view is a documented goal:

  • will give you a FOCUS because you see it regularly, you are reminded of it so it is more likely to be part of your thinking and your actions;
  • will make you more ACCOUNTABLE. In effect it is a promise you have made yourself when the goal was originally “announced”.

So HOW are these documented goals achieved:

Personally – by breaking down these goals into “bite size” chunks, which are realistic and measurable. Remember – the goals can be for any part of your life such as financial, health, fitness, relationship, holiday, job, activity or even learning new skills. As you meet each milestone within each goal it may be an idea to reward yourself as a form of positive reinforcement and a mark of achievement.

Business – by setting out an Action Plan of what needs to take place to achieve the agreed goals. This process requires complete ACCOUNTABILITY and the Action Plan must set out WHO is to do WHAT and by WHEN? We all get busy, but you cannot continue to use this as an excuse if goals are regularly not being achieved.

Over the last few years I have made a point of writing down my goals for the next 12 months in January each year. These are across a range of areas in my life and many have little to do with business or finances. This simple one page list is kept in the front of my diary so I see it every day and it reminds me to stay on course. It is a process I am glad I have started and I can highly recommend it.

Here is my challenge – write down a few goals and keep this list in a place where you will see it every day. Give it a try – there is no downside!