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Be Like Harvard Students

Most students know what goals are and they know that it’s important to have goals. You probably hear it all the time, “goals are so important. Set goals for yourself” and so on and so forth. The people telling you this are definitely not wrong. However, something they often times leave out is that you actually need to write these goals down.

When listening to students talk about their goals, one of the first questions we ask is, “but do you write your goals down somewhere?”. The answer is almost always, “uhm… no”. Students are confident in the fact that they have goals. They’re there, yes, but they’re stored away safely, floating about in the student’s head.

 Do You Even Have Goals?

Firstly, if you’re reading this thinking, “oh, most students have goals and the main problem is they don’t write it down? I don’t even HAVE goals!”, then take note. The first and most important step is to actually have goals. 

Why should you have goals? Because it works. The top students in your class are setting goals for their small class tests, for their assignments, for their exams and for their long-term life plans. If it works for them, surely there’s a reason for you to do it, too.

Secondly, goals improve your focus and guides it in the direction you want to go. Because of the focus it allows, it also boosts your motivation. It gives you a destination which will result in you actually wanting to get out of bed to go there. Convinced yet?  If you’re feeling unsure on how to set your goals, read our ‘goal-setting exercise’ blog.

 Write Them Down

The second step, but not at all less important, is then taking these goals and writing them down. If you don’t write your goals down, it’s merely a dream in your head; a fantasy. Put it on paper, make it real. Make it concrete.

Get yourself a journal, dairy or you could even create a new ‘note’ on your phone and jot those goals down. Create categories: school work, career, personal etc. You can set short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. You decide!

 Will It Make A Difference?

Let’s let the research do the talking. In 1979, a Harvard survey was conducted on a class of MBA students asking the question, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”

 The survey revealed the following results:

3% in the class had written goals and plans

13% had unwritten goals

84% had no goals at all

Fast forward ten years, and 3% of those with written goals had a higher net worth than the other 97% combined. The 13% with unwritten goals earned twice as much as the 84% with no goals. Lastly, the 3% with written goals and plans earned ten times as much as all the others combined.

 In conclusion

Individuals who set clear goals and write them down are more likely to succeed than those who don’t.