Study Backs Up Strategy for Achieving Goals - More Than Accountants

Study Backs Up Strategy for Achieving Goals

Each one of us has our own set of goals. It can be pertaining to your work, studies, or life in general. Most people have straightforward goals. Since they are inspired by these goals, they want to start out right away. But after several weeks, they started to wonder what made them got off the track? What went wrong?

However, new research revealed that there are certain strategies that can help you in overcoming this problem. In order to help you achieve your goals, you need to write them down, you must have action commitments, and lastly, you must have to build your own support network. Using these strategies can help you increase your chances of attaining your goals successfully.

What are your goals?

You have to decide what you want to achieve, then you must write them down. Smart goals should be specific. This means that you should be able to answer the basic questions for your goal such as who, what, when and where. Likewise, your goals must be measurable so you can keep track of your progress. Most of all, these goals must be attainable. It should be something that you are capable of achieving. Lastly, it should be realistic. You have to set a particular timeframe when you can successfully achieve these goals.

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Why goals are important?

Goals are an essential part of your success. It can help you grow and change. Goals can help us grow because they can help us adapt to ourselves. Having goals can make us psychologically stable since we have a purpose in life and a definite direction to follow. Sometimes the cause of our failure does not come from other people. Actually, it is our own fears and doubts which prevents us from achieving our goals. They are so powerful that they can keep us from making action commitments. As a result, we remained dreamers instead of being doers.

In order to help you grow and become successful, you must be willing to do some changes. You must become the person that you can respect and depend upon. The only way that you can take action is to overcome your fears. The more challenges you face as you achieve your goals, the more you can grow as an individual.

Plan your steps and put them into action.

After realizing your goals, the next step would probably be more difficult. In fact, this is where most people fall short. You need to plan your next step in achieving your goals and most of all you have to put them into action. If you don’t have any action commitments, then it would be useless. To help you in formulating your possible actions, here are some questions that you need to consider:

Do you have the required resources that can help you in achieving your goals? What activities are needed to be done and what is your timeframe for each activity? Are there people who can help you in achieving your goals?

As you are working on achieving your goals, you have to understand that it is possible that you can encounter some problems. Hence, it is very important that you have a friend or a network that can help you in finding the best possible solutions to your problems. You might get in touch with a friend on a weekly basis to keep them updated with the progress of your goal. Your friend can help you focus more so you can be successful in achieving your goals.

How to achieve your goals?

Do you know what is the best strategy for achieving your goals? According to Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, you should “share your goals with your friend and keep them updated about your progress.” Recently, Matthews conducted a study to prove that the best way to achieve your goals is to wrote them down then share it with your friend, and finally every now and then you should let them know about the development of your goals. Based on Matthews’ research, an average of 33% successfully achieved their goals by following this strategy.

What motivated Matthews to conduct a study about procrastination?

Matthews was inspired by the article about “1953 Yale Study of Goals,” which was published by Fast Company magazine. According to this study, there are greater chances that you will become successful in achieving your goals if you wrote down your specific goals than just merely expressing them. This idea became an inspiration for several life coaches.

However, since there were no actual studies conducted to back up this strategy, Fast Company magazine ridiculed the Yale study saying that it was just a myth. Matthews’ research backs up the Yale study and proves that this strategy is not just a myth.

According to Matthews, “With the proliferation of business and personal coaching and the often anecdotal reports of coaching success, it is important that this growing profession be founded on sound scientific research.”

How did Matthews conduct his study?

Matthews made sure that there is a great diversity in the participants so he enlisted people from different associations and industries across the United States and abroad. They have different backgrounds and different age levels ranging from 23 to 72. All in all, Matthews managed to recruit 267 participants in the study about achieving goals successfully by writing them down, taking actions to accomplish them and being responsible for those actions.

Matthews created five different groups and assigned each of these participants randomly to a certain group.

Group 1

In this group, the participants were asked to think only about the goals that they would like to achieve within four weeks. Additionally, they have to evaluate each goal based on its significance, complexity, devotion, motivation, as well as if they have sufficient resources and skills needed in achieving this goal. They should also consider if they have attempted this particular goal before and if so, did they succeed.

Group 2-5

Unlike the participants in Group 1, the group members of Group 2-5 were requested to write down their goals and assess each one of them based on the same criteria in  Group 1.

Group 3

Those who belong on Group 3 were asked to write down their goals. But this time, they must include their action commitments for each goal.

Group 4

Just like the participants in Group 3, those who were included in Group 4 must write down their goals and at the same time incorporate their action commitments. Likewise, they should also share these promises with a friend.

Group 5

The participants in Group 5 were the ones who went the furthest. They did all the things that were done by Group 4 with the addition of sending weekly updates to a friend.

What was the result of Matthews’ study?

There is a wide range of variety in the goals of the participants. Some of their goals are quite broad while others are a bit more specific. Some examples of broadly focused goals are the increase in income or productivity, completion of a project, improvement of a business, performance, or life balance, acquiring new skills as well as conquering work stress. While specific oriented goals include selling a property, writing a single chapter of a book, etc.

Out of the 267 participants, only 149 of them were able to finish the study while others decided to quit. Those who managed to complete the study were requested to make an evaluation of their progress as well as the extent of their accomplishment.

After the completion of the study, it was discovered that those who belong in Group 1 were only able to accomplish 43% of their desired goals. However, those who belong in Group 4 managed to successfully achieve 64% of their aspired goals. But the most triumphant of them all were the participants in Group 5 since they were able to accomplish 76% of their goals.

Based on these results, Matthews concluded that “My study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of three coaching tools: accountability, commitment, and writing down one’s goals.”

What do you want for your future?

To help you analyze what you really want your future to be, you must first assess where you are right now. Learn to determine what are the things that must be done, in case there is any. This can help you reach the next level of success.

That is why you should put these words into writing. After that, evaluate your present situation and find out if what you are doing is sufficient enough. This can help you determine your baseline. Sometimes staying on the baseline can be advantageous, however, there are also times that you need to take action and risk doing some changes.

Do you have defined goals?

As humans, it is only natural for us to have the desire to keep on wanting for more. It could be wanting to achieve more, knowing more, doing more, or exploring more places. This interest in wanting for more can contribute to your self-development.

Those people who are yearning for more success would imagine themselves making more money, improve their diet so they can get into better shape or find someone who will love them eternally. In order to obtain a realistic goal, you need to determine how you are going to achieve these goals. Having detailed steps can help you in becoming successful. If you have less defined goals, then you won’t have a clear direction. Moreover, you will have lesser devotion and focus when undertaking your goals. It is essential that you must define your goals, nurture them, and make sure to formulate a well-designed plan so you can take necessary actions.

Which of these goals are more important to you?

If you have several goals, then you need to prioritize them. In this way, you won’t feel stressed by your goals. You need to determine which of these goals are critical and which ones are not so critical. By doing this, your mind will be less overwhelmed and you can gain more self-confidence.

Your urgent goals must be done first. After achieving the urgent ones, then you can work on the less urgent ones. For longer-term goals, you need to divide them into smaller goals. Sometimes when you are confronting your goals, you tend to back up right away. Hence, it is essential that you should not indicate a particular date for accomplishment, instead, you can designate a time estimate on each goal.

But keep in mind that when you make time estimates, you should provide an allowance for unknown circumstances to occur. This can prevent you from feeling discouraged every time that you can’t achieve your goal on the precise date that you’ve chosen.

Learn from your mistakes.

When the outcome of your goal is not what you’ve expected, then you should not think that you fail. The fact is, you should learn from it. Don’t be easily get dismayed. The best thing for you to do is to start all over again. Sometimes failure helps us to discover the things that require some improvement or refinement. Hence, it is essential that you must refine, enhance, and start setting off the goal again.

Perhaps your goal did not work previously because you are in the wrong direction. If this is the case, then you need to rectify your direction. This is an effective strategy since this will put you on a win-win situation. Every time you treat your goals as a learning experience, then it can help you grow and become more mature. As a result, you can be successful in achieving your goals.

Why should you start all over again after a failure?

Failure should not be the end of it all. After all, there are still a lot of choices available for you after experiencing a failure since you will be starting from the very beginning. If your important goal becomes a failure, then you should rise up again and assessed why you fail. Improve your goal and do it all over again. Furthermore, you should have more than one goal because if one goal failed, then you can proceed to your next goal.

There won’t be any failure if you resist giving up. You can keep on setting goals since you can always start again even how many times you want. After achieving all your goals, then you can define new goals which can help you explore new things.

The truth is, goals will take some time to achieve. Sometimes your plan will not go exactly as what you want it to be. Hence, achieving goals will require a lot of patience, flexibility, and responsibility.

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James is the co founder of More Than Accountants an Online Accountants. He will be more than happy to help More Than Accountants clients implement any guides or strategies that he has posted to the blog. If you would like to learn more about becoming a More Than Accountants client you can quote online by using our Unlimited Accountancy Services Quoting Tool.

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