7 steps to produce the life harvest you desire—Introduction
Many of us have been told we should set smart goals, write them down with the date to achieve them, and we can achieve everything we want.
This can be a great start, especially if, like the majority of people, you’ve never set a goal and are merely drifting along hoping things will one day change for the better.
Studies provide some evidence for the value of writing down goals to achieve them, but there’s so much more.
Gail Matthews’ research into setting goals highlights what makes for effective goal setting that leads to results.
She had five groups set business-related goals they hoped to achieve within four weeks and report back on whether they had achieved them or not.
Group 1 was asked to merely think about their goals.
Groups 2-5 were asked to write down their goals.
Group 3 was asked to write down action commitments for each goal.
Group 4 had to write goals and action commitments and share these commitments with a friend.
Group 5 did all these but added a weekly progress report to a friend.
Not surprisingly, those who invested more in their goals were more likely to achieve them. Statistically, only 34% of Group 1 accomplished their goals or were at least halfway there at the end of the four weeks. Group 4 almost doubled that at 62%; and Group 5 had 76% achieve their goals or were halfway there.
‘My study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of three coaching tools: accountability; commitment; and writing down one’s goals,’ says Matthews.
Going from goal setting to goal achieving
There’s clear evidence and support for setting clear goals. However, I’m often asked, ‘Why am I not achieving my goals?’ Or, ‘Why did I only achieve part of what I wanted to?’ Or ‘My coach said if I wrote down my goals I would achieve them—why is that not happening?’
Executive coach Ray Williams explains why it isn’t easy: ‘The inherent problem with goal setting is related to how the brain works. Neuroscience research shows the brain works in a protective way, resistant to change. Therefore, any goals that require substantial behavioural change or thinking-pattern change will automatically be resisted.’
This means that goal ‘achieving’ is far more complex than we’ve been led to believe. This is why many go around in circles.
Some never set goals. Some never achieve the goals they set. Some abandon New Year’s resolutions by January 2.
The problem is that those who don’t achieve their dream can end up feeling despondent, give up their ideas or settle for less than they want. They may convince themselves that it just wasn’t meant to be or—worse still—that life is against them.
This is not exactly a recipe for success. But there are ways you can succeed.
Gillian Tilley is a Life and Investment Coach and a new contributor to RetireNotes.com. This post is an introduction to ‘7 steps to produce the life harvest you desire’. The first of the seven steps in the series will be featured next week.