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New Year’s Resolutions vs. Goal-Setting
January 06, 2015

Facts, goal-setting - and your success

By giving you leadership tools, my purpose is to help you grow – both – individually and professionally.

So please – allow me to ask you one simple question …

Is goal-setting part of your life?

Or are you like the average person that comes up with New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of every year – and then slowly and gradually forgets about them as the year progresses?

Let me give you a couple of facts …

Harvard University conducted a study between 1979 and 1989 (1):

In 1979 the University asked graduates from their MBA program if they had written down their goals – and if they had plans for reaching them.

Only 3% of respondents had written their goals and had plans to reach them. 13% had goals – but they hadn’t written them down. And 84% had no specific goals at all – other than enjoying the summer.

Ten years later – in 1989 – the University interviewed the same members of that class again – and they discovered the following:

The 13% of graduates who had goals but hadn’t written them down – were making in average twice as much as the 84% of graduates who didn’t have goals at all.

And the 3% of graduates who had written goals when they left Harvard – were making in average ten times more than the other 97% together.

Another fact …

In early 2000 the Conference Board (2) conducted a survey for the Association for Talent Development (formerly known as the American Society for Training and Development) and as a result of that study, the Conference Board determined – among other findings – that one of the primary causes of low performance on the job is lack of clear individual goals.

Do you see the relationship between goal setting and success – and the relationship between poorly communicated goals and low performance?

You have business goals – don’t you? But – are you clearly communicating them to your employees?

Do you also have personal goals? By personal goals I mean your health goals, your relationship goals, your financial goals, etc.

Your personal goals are just as important as your business goals – aren’t they?

Goals give you a sense of purpose – they develop your competency, your trust in yourself and increase your motivation. They help you grow and mature.

Happiness is closely related to the continuous attainment of goals. You are happy when you walk on the path that you REALLY want.

To live a life without goals – BOTH personal and professional – is like living a life without direction.

Some of the reasons why people don’t set goals is because they think goals are not important, they are afraid to fail, they don’t know how to set them, etc.

Effective goal setting is a leadership tool.

To set personal and business goals – you only have to do two things …

First: Make your goal SMART (Specific / Measurable / Attainable, Relevant / Time-bound)

Specific means that your written goal must be interpreted in only one possible way. If several people give different interpretations to your written goal – then your goal is not specific.

Measurable means that you have a way to know you have reached your goal.

Attainable means that you have all the necessary resources – or that you can obtain and/or learn the necessary resources to attain it.

Relevant means that your goal is 100% aligned with your deepest desires (personal goal) – or with your organization’s vision (business goal).

Time-bound means that your goal has a completion date.

Second: Make your goal Explicit and Public.

On one hand, making your goals Explicit means that you must write your goals down – and once written – you must place them somewhere where you can see them every day.

Making your goals Explicit helps you increase your commitment.

On the other hand, making your goals Public doesn’t mean publishing them on your local newspaper or on your Social Media.

Making your goals Public means that you tell people about them – people who are important to you.

Tell to your family and friends about your personal goals – not everybody – but just those individuals you think it is appropriate.

Tell your company about your business goals – not everybody – but just those people you think it is appropriate.

Making your goals Public helps you increase your accountability.


New Year’s Resolutions might end up becoming wishful thinking.

But goal setting is walking purposefully on the right direction – just make sure your goals are SMART, Explicit and Public.

So please – let me ask you again:

Is goal-setting part of your life – both – personally and professionally?

If your answer is “no” – you have lots of room for improvement that is within your reach, at your finger tips.


(1) Mark H. McCormack (What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School), Bantam Books, New York, NY., 1986.

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See you next month!
Joseluis Romero - Publisher
January 6, 2014. Copyright: All rights reserved
I publish "Leader Newsletter" on the first Tuesday of every month
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