Take Action

It’s that time of year again where many of us will review the past year and sit down to plan what we want to achieve in the coming year.

Goal setting has had a bit of negative press recently and from my experience the way you set goals can dramatically improve your chance of attaining them.  While I agree with Derek Sivers, founder of CD baby (which he sold for $22 million), that you need to focus more on the process and less on the outcome, I also draw from Professor Richard Wiseman’s research in the book "59 seconds, Think a little, Change a lot". In two large scale scientific studies involving participants from all over the world, Professor Wiseman found that those who successfully achieved their aims and ambitions:

  1. Had a plan – breaking the goal into sub-goals and thereby creating a step-by-step process that helped remove the fear and hesitation often associated with trying to achieve a major life change. These sub-goals were concrete, measurable and time-based.
  2. Told their friends, family and colleagues about their goals or went public with their goals in some way
  3. Frequently reminded themselves of the benefits associated with achieving their goals
  4. Attached a reward to each sub-goal
  5. Expressed their plans, progress, benefits and rewards by writing them down; on a computer, using graphs, pictures or a handwritten journal.

Often by trail and error, everyone has their own techniques for helping them achieve their goals. Mine is going public, as I hate to let people down. Circumstances change and sometimes goals change or need to be adapted – but remember you don’t fail until you quit.