Goal Getting Beats Goal Setting

By Suzette Alger & Toni Harkins

What will you have accomplished by December 31, 2001? Goal setting is only a prelude to action. Goal setting doesn’t reach goals; goal getting does.

A study conducted by Yale University in 1956 showed that the top 3 percent of the graduating class were systematic writers of goals. A follow-up study 30 years later, in 1986, showed that this same 3 percent was significantly more successful than the rest of the class, and again the main difference was that they were still writing goals.

What do goal getters do differently from ordinary goal setters? What sets them apart? Here are seven action steps that can turn you from a goal setter into a goal getter.

Write your goals down. A regular program of writing down your dreams and plans should include writing down your goals. The top achieving Yale graduates didn’t just set their goals, they wrote their goals. Albert Einstein said that there have been no great men in the world since people stopped keeping journals. Writing crystallizes your goals; it commits your goals from the dark recesses of your mind to life and breath by giving them birth on paper.

Make specific goals. Goal getters don’t plan to upgrade their job skills; they see themselves completing a class in computers or management. They don’t decide to play better tennis, they imagine themselves hitting a more accurate forehand.

State your goals positively. Our minds conceptualize in pictures and we literally cannot visualize a negative word in a statement correctly. Goal getters use positive statements to get a clear picture of their goals: I will be sympathetic to my disappointed customers and I will close the Blake account.

Set well-rounded goals. Goal getters keep their lives in balance by setting goals in all important areas of their lives: familial, financial, social, physical, spiritual, emotional and mental areas.

Put goals into time frames. Develop a five-year plan, a one-year plan, a quarterly plan and don’t be afraid to revise all of these plans throughout the year. It’s a good idea to break your goals down into action steps and enter each step into your daily planning calendar.

Keep score. Count your wins every day, small and large, in all areas of your life. You can use your losses to help you make accurate reassessments.

Let your goals grow from the power of your dreams. Write them down. All the truly great accomplishments of life began at some time with a dream that managed not to get muffled by society and the mocking taunts of “It’ll never happen.”

Goal getters set goals and have the stubbornness, tenacity and persistence to hold onto a goal until it is achieved. If you can put the seven steps for reaching your goals into action for yourself, you can turn goal setting into goal getting in your life.