How to Actually Achieve Your Goals, Backed By Science

How to Achieve GoalsThere are clear benefits to setting and achieving business goals:

  • Goals provide direction and keep you on track
  • Achieving goals provides motivation for future success
  • Clearly defining goals separates them from wishful thinking
  • Having goals helps you make better decisions
  • Goals make you take responsibility for your own success
  • Goals provide structure to to grow within

So how can you make sure you actually achieve the goals you set for yourself?

The Real Secret to Achieving Your Goals

Did you know that only 8% of people actually achieve their new year’s resolutions?

We all want to be better. We work hard to improve ourselves and our businesses but somehow most of us never follow through.

And it’s not for a lack of motivation or effort. The real reason most of us fail at reaching our goals is because we don’t have the right support system set up.

If we don’t spend the time setting goals the right way and creating a system to help us follow through, they will remain aspirations.

However, there is one big thing you can do to increase your odds of success.

A study by a clinical psychologist at Dominican University of California found that when goals are shared with a friend, they are 23% more likely to happen. When that same friend receives weekly updates on the goal progress, it is 33% more likely to be accomplished.

This means that when held accountable, 76% of people will accomplish their goals. I like those odds.

People who make their goals public are 33% more likely to achieve them. [click to tweet]

The Simple Step By Step Process to Achieving Your Goals

Rather than leaving it up to chance, use this simple process to achieve your goals.

Step 1: Build Your Foundation

Step 2: Set Broad Goals

Step 3: Break Your Goals Down Into Habits

Step 4: Create a Support System

Let’s go over each step in detail.

Step 1: Build Your Foundation

Before you set any goals, you need to the right foundation. If your goals are at odds with your values, they will be very difficult to do. Spend some time writing or reviewing your mission statement, core message, and business values. Any goals you set should build on this and work for this.

Step 2: Set Broad Goals

Decide where you want to be. What the end result will be. This is the time to think about results without worrying about process.

Step 3: Break Your Goals Down Into Habits

Now that you know where you want to be, it’s time to make these goals actionable. Break them down in smaller subgoals and think about the process that will get you there. From here, you can figure which habits you need to develop.

Habits are much easier to accomplish than goals. If you want to run a marathon, it will seem overwhelming at first. But you once you break down running a marathon into a regular training schedule it becomes much more doable. You can take your mind—and your willpower—out of the equation.

Step 4: Create a Support System

This is the most important step. If you really want to see success, you need to make your goal public. Find an accountability partner, tell them about your goal, and create a schedule for checking in. If you don’t check in, a good partner will follow up and put the pressure on.

It’s important to log your progress over time and let your partner in on it. Use a logbook to share your weekly updates and get some encouragement—or tough love when you need it!

What big goal do you have for 2014? Start today by making it public and letting me know in the comments. I’ll check in later to see how you’re doing.