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The Value in Writing Your Goals and Having Accountability


I spend a couple of hours every day listening to books, doing courses, and watching videos from many of the most successful people in the world (Yup, I know I'm a geek!).


One really simple thing that every single one of them does is sit down and write out their goals. Some do this every single day and the effect this practice has on your mindset is phenomenal.


There is an often referred to Harvard study on goal setting which claims that from a 1979 class of Harvard graduates only 3% wrote down their goals, 20 years later that 3% earned more than the other 97% combined. Sadly, most evidence indicates this study never actually happened!

However, another study on goal setting was later undertaken by Dr. Gail Matthews and the conclusions were very strong Click here to see more about this study.

In summary;

Participants were split in to 4 groups

Group 1 was asked to simply think about business-related goals they hoped to accomplish within a four-week block and to rate each goal according to difficulty, importance, the extent to which they had the skills and resources to accomplish the goal, their commitment and motivation, and whether they had pursued the goal before (and, if so, their prior success).

Groups 2-5 were asked to write their goals and then rate them on the same dimensions as given to Group 1.

Group 3 was also asked to write action commitments for each goal.

Group 4 had to both write goals and action commitments and also share these commitments with a friend.

Group 5 went the furthest by doing all of the above plus sending a weekly progress report to a friend.


149 completed the study. These participants were asked to rate their progress and the degree to which they had accomplished their goals.

At the end of the study, only 43 percent of Group 1 either accomplished their goals or were at least half way there. Sixty-two percent of Group 4 accomplished their goals or were at least half way there. However, 76 percent of those in Group 5 either accomplished their goals or were at least half way there.


The evidence pretty strongly indicates the benefit of writing down goals even if you have previously thought clearly about them, categorised them and rated your motivation towards that goal in your head.

Sharing progress and keeping accountable also gives another massive boost.

Obviously if you're an online trainer one thing that really helps you achieve those goals is PT Distinction!
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