Why Setting Goals Isn't Enough

Goal Setting

Think about the last time you set a goal. How did it go? Did you end up achieving your goal? If not, do you remember why you didn’t reach it? Chances are if you didn’t hit your goal, you probably didn’t take time beforehand to set yourself up for success.

In 1979, Harvard Business School conducted a study. They asked the graduating class one simple question.

Have you set written goals and created a plan for their attainment?

Before graduating, it was determined that:

  - 84% of the entire class had set no goals at all.

  - 13% of the class had set written goals but had no set plans.

  - 3% of the class had both written goals and plans on how to achieve those goals.

10 years later the study showed that the 13% of the class that set written goals were making twice as much money as the 84% of the class that didn’t set any goals. The most surprising part of the study was that they found of the 3% that had written goals, and a way to achieve them were making 10X as much as the rest of the 97% of the class.

If we want to truly reach our goals, it is crucial that we take the time along side with writing down goals, to set defined plans on how we will reach them. Simply writing down goals isn’t good enough. Take the time to plan out steps and ways of how to reach your goals. You may even want to write out potential things or habits that could get in the way of reaching a goal. 

After a few times of doing this I started to see a recurring theme. For me, anytime I would accomplish anything either big or small, it was preparation that lead to success, not necessarily the goal.


Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.

Alexander Graham Bell said “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”


I honestly believe that each of us can accomplish amazing things. However, without a clear vision how will we ever get there? I find that the more specific my steps and plans are towards a goal, the clearer my vision becomes. When I have a clear vision, I get more excited and motivated to achieve it.

Once you have your goals written down, take time throughout the day to review them. Over time make adjustments to your plans and steps to ensure you are still on the right path. I write my goals on 3x5 cards that I keep with me. Whenever I have some free time, instead of always looking at my phone I look over my goals. It helps remind me that each task I am doing throughout the day needs to contribute to a goal of mine. If I find that the task or activity doesn’t help me reach one of my goals, I then consider completely removing it from my life.

Don’t let a day go by without a goal behind it driving you to become better.

-Mike Cutler
Become Your Own Hero


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published